It doesn’t take much time spent with Randy Hale, vice president/program coordinator, and the staff at the Alabama Youth Home in Hayden to sense their incredible commitment to nurturing, teaching, and disciplining the girls aged 13-18 who call this their home. While abuse, neglect, and abandonment leave thousands of girls homeless each year, Alabama Youth Home strives to bring hope to each girl to whom the staff become surrogate parents.
Its primary mission is to provide a Christian home for girls in need by promoting their spiritual, emotional, physical, and social well-being. This is accomplished through teaching and modeling life and social skills and rewarding appropriate behavior. Each girl has her own individual treatment plan, mentor, counselor, and social worker. All this, coupled with a 24/7 staff, keeps them in a safe and productive environment.The youth also have devotions, attend church in the community, and have opportunities to hear speakers who are invited into the home to share applicable topics. The life skills the girls are taught include table manners, housekeeping skills, and personal relationship building. The women on staff share a strong commitment to build relationships with the residents and in doing so find teachable moments and opportunities for the girls to see true love and concern made real in their lives.
According to Hale, “Statistics prove that maltreated children become maltreating adults. Our desire through the Alabama Youth Home here in Hayden, and in all our homes, is to break that cycle.”
And break that cycle they do. Miriam Murphree, local home coordinator, shared that from time to time former residents return to the home to share successes they are experiencing in their lives.“These are some of the most rewarding times for me, when I see first-hand, positive evidence of the effort and love poured into the girls.”
At present, love is being poured into youth in four locations managed by Alabama Youth Homes Inc. over the state. This nonprofit organization, while somewhat subsidized, leans heavily on the prayers and support of the local community. Anyone willing can support this home by committing to a monthly donation, no amount being too small.
When monthly pledges are set in place, the organization is better equipped to budget and to know what ways best to meet the outstanding financial needs they face from year to year.
If you are interested, it’s as easy as going to the website at www.alyh.org and clicking on the tab labeled “supporting us.” From there you can complete the process, or if you prefer you can contact the home directly at 678-4449.
When asked how he finds balance in his life as pastor of Pine Grove Missionary Baptist Church of Rosa, program coordinator of Alabama Youth Homes Inc., and his family, Hale states without hesitation, “It’s the incredible, committed staff that works 24/7 enabling me to fill the roles I am called to play. The prayer and support of local churches and schools have been tremendous as well, and we could not make it without them.”
Many people contribute to the admirable plan of Alabama Youth Homes Inc. to break the cycle of abuse and abandonment, one youth at a time.