By: Curt Williams, Founder & Executive Director
It may be after a church presentation, at a foundation meeting, or maybe at a Rotary Club. “Where Do They Come From?” is the question we’re asked most often after we are given an opportunity to share the work of Youth-Reach. Many people seem to wonder where we get the kids that come into our care. Well, they come from just about everywhere.
In the first few years of Youth-Reach’s existence, the boys came almost exclusively from one street in one district of Houston. We found the boys in the Montrose area of the city, and more specifically, along the Lower Westheimer strip. It was a rowdy and violent time when the number of street kids in the area was a city-wide embarrassment, yet city leaders seemed paralyzed and unable to find a solution. The prostitution, drug trade and lure of the debased excitement drew runaway and throwaway kids from all over the region.
Later, as our scope grew and our reputation spread, we began to get referrals for troubled kids from across the city. Police officers, school counselors, youth ministers and pastors called hoping that we had a bed available. We even had kids dumped off in front of our first home, and the parents simply drove away.
With the inception of the Internet and a prominent website, things changed. We began to receive referrals and admit kids from across the nation. This certainly complicated things like parental involvement and transportation, but we were more than willing to take kids according to need and not according to their address.
Consider the last thirteen residents who have come to us: Aaron is from Tomball. Joe came to us from Mason, Michigan. Jacob is originally from Oneida, Tennessee. Joey, who we recently baptized, is from Paxico, Kansas. Bryce is from right here in Houston. Quincy is from Lebanon, Oregon. Though born in Guatemala, Kevin came to Youth-Reach from his adopted hometown of Burleson, Texas. Marques is from down south in Lake Jackson. Bije just finished the program but came to us from Van, Texas. Jordan is from Hobart, Indiana. Born in France, Francois had to travel across Houston to get to us. Marquis is from Yonkers, New York. And Marion is from San Francisco.
In our history, we have had boys born in Brazil, Vietnam, Ukraine, Russia, China, Honduras, Mexico, Romania, Ecuador and India. Our heart is for Houston to become known not just for oil refining, NASA, and great hospitals, but also as a place where hope is restored to troubled kids and their families.
Your consistent and faithful support of our work has made this possible since 1984, and your support, along with the blessings of the Father, will make us even more fruitful for the next generation of kids who need what we have to offer.
Thank you to all who support the life-changing work of Youth-Reach Houston.