HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The Harris Home for Children has served kids in the community for nearly 70 years. The private, non-profit has touched millions of lives in that time.
“What we’re trying to do, our founder Miss Chessie Harris, she founded the organization so many years ago, and we’re trying to keep that legacy going. She would take young people off of the street here in the Madison County area and feed them, give them clothes and she was using her own home to do so”, said Dr. Randy Barbour, Education Coordinator.
Barbour says Harris Home for Children has residential programs that include transitional housing where they provide support, nurturing, and teach life skills. The organization provides foster care services and crisis support for neglected adolescent children in our community, and around the state of Alabama.
The organization is the only emergency crisis service in the state of Alabama so when children unexpectedly find themselves without a safe space to sleep or wondering where their next meal will come from, Harris Home for Children is the only place to turn.
“Many of them are coming from very trauma-filled environments, facing a lot of neglect. So, when a lot of young people come into that crisis program, we’re able to give them an environment that’s, that nurturing environment for them, try to serve as a safe place for them,” said Dr. Barbour.
The non-profit also provides education support for foster children. Barbour says he assists in getting students enrolled in school and the organization works to help students graduate from high school.
“I want to boast on our six seniors that we have right now who attend Lee High School. I have six seniors and all of them will be going to college,” Dr. Barbour said.
Harris Home for Children is currently housing 25 children. Barbour says they have a waitlist and get referrals every day.
There are ways the community can get involved if they would like to help the organization, from donating cleaning supplies, food, and volunteering.
“The opportunity to mentor, to help tutor. I have right now 25 young people from the ages and grades of middle school through high school and so it’s really, really important that we provide a great environment for young people and expose them to different people who may look like them or may not look like them so that they have an opportunity to be poured into through the community,” he explained.
There is more information about how to get involved on the Harris Home For Children website.