I’m Ben Haugh, I’m a Youth-Reach Houston (YRH) alum, and this is my story…

Waiting for the Hammer to Drop

When I was about 14-15 years old, I was completely out of control and in a juvenile detention center in Waco, Texas. I had no regard for my safety or anyone else’s. While there, I had been locked in a cell — meant to hold a kid for 48 hours — for three straight months. My parents had hired an attorney to keep me in jail and ultimately have me tried as an adult. Our family was in a crisis and we desperately needed intervention.

Thankfully, my probation officer had a CD with information about Youth-Reach on it. He advocated on my behalf and convinced the judge to let me go to YRH.

My first days at YRH were scary. He grew up in a very strict religious organization that had laid out a lie about the general world. They taught that the world was out to get you and the only safe place was within that community. So, I spent that first bit of time always on guard, nervous and uncertain.

After I’d been there about a month, YRH Founder and Executive Director, Curt Williams, called me over and said, “I’ve never seen a kid with such a chip on his shoulder as you. I don’t know everything you’ve been through, but you’re in a safe place now. You don’t have to watch your back and you can talk to us.” That was different. I’d always lived in fear, waiting for the hammer to drop. 

He went on to say, “You’re not a bad kid. You’re a good person and this is a place where you can be a good person. Don’t let this opinion of you being a ‘bad kid’ define you.

Care Designed Just for Me

After that, I went to my counselor at YRH and really started leaning into healing from my past traumas. I spent my life putting on a performance for people, but it wasn’t working at YRH. Leadership and staff weren’t looking for performance; they were looking for change. With people walking beside me, I was able to settle in and be honest with myself about the things I’d done and the incorrect belief systems I had.

I was also so ashamed that I had no education. In fact, I was illiterate. Curt advised me, “People will help you, just ask.”

The care and ministry I was receiving were individual and designed just for me. I could bring individual problems to the staff and come up with personalized life skills to deal with them.

I went from a strict religious community of people constantly pushing me to change through dos and don’ts to people who accepted me as I was, providing me with the tools I needed to reinvent myself.

“YRH doesn’t make you feel stupid or bad; they’re literally there to serve you.”

Youth-Reach didn’t solve all of my problems, but they were able to slow down the burn, put distance between the inevitable explosion I was about to have in my life, and give me tools to avoid it. Ultimately, YRH gave me friends — real friends. It’s been a strength just knowing that there’s someone out there to take my call.

A Life of Restoration

After graduating, I took a bus from Houston to Austin, and almost immediately got a job doing home and business remediation. I worked at that job for four years and, as the company’s top salesperson, had really worked my way up.

…And then the company folded.

I didn’t know what to do. One of my coworkers encouraged me to start my own business. So I did. I started “All Nation Restoration, LLC” from nothing, and it’s the same company I own today. Now, I have 20 full-time employees, and our company is the fastest-growing, highest-rated private remediation company in Austin, TX.

It’s crazy because I have no education. But a lot of kids who come to YRH have little education. Many of them believe that success is never going to be in their future. That’s not true, and my story proves that.

I also consider one of my greatest life achievements my family. I’m happily married with three children, two boys and a girl. Since I was a boy, my dream has always been to be a good father.

“There are kids who are in desperate situations. The more help that Curt and Youth-Reach can get, the better it will be for the people who need help the most.”

Because of the generosity of our supporters, troubled boys like Ben receive the healing and restoration of 24/7 Christ-centered residential support. We never charge residents or their families for the services offered.

We ask that you prayerfully consider partnering with us to help provide more teen boys with the life-changing opportunity to join us at YRH. Thank you for your consideration and for taking the time to read Ben’s story!