Many times when teenager boys come into our residential program, they have come from backgrounds where they do not seem to fit in. So they have developed walls to keep others out. They especially want to look “cool” to the others in the house. But that changes rapidly for the boys at the Byrne Campus in Peculiar. That campus has two separate houses and two separate programs. Gephardt is the Therapeutic Group Home for boys ages 6-21. Country Haven is a home for adult men and women with developmental disabilities. This is a combination that would stereotypically be seen as “oil and water.” But, remarkably, a strong bond has developed between the two groups which is promoting healing for both.
The houses are 100 yards apart but it’s not uncommon for the residents to be seen playing basketball together, walking the track, fixing bikes or just sitting at the picnic table laughing. When the adults get home from work, they will frequently call over to the boys’ house to see if one of their “friends” can play. The teenage boys jump to volunteer to help the adults. These developing relationships have shown the boys that sometimes the people whom society sees as “handicapped” are really just people with big hearts who are willing to accept THEM just as they are – just like God does.
Every day at the Byrne Campus we witness how relationships can heal traumatized lives and how important community is in all of our lives.