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December 13, 2013

New youth shelter to host open house

DUNCAN — Since the day in November 2008 when land at 5th and Cedar was donated, those involved with the Stephens County Youth Services have been looking forward to showing off a new youth shelter at that location.

That day has finally come and an open house for the new Stephens County Youth Shelter will be from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the shelter, 810 N. 5th Street. This will be the only opportunity for the community to view the shelter before children are moved in from the current shelter.

In 1979, Youth Services began using a shelter at 420 S. 8th Street to serve abused or neglected children, runaway and homeless youth, and provides temporary shelter, advocacy and services for children in Stephens, Jefferson and Cotton counties.

However, the building’s age, layout and size were no longer beneficial to the cause, so board members began looking into a new building. After the land was donated, a fundraising campaign for building construction, landscaping and furnishing began in January 2010.

“This has been one of the most exciting fundraisers I have ever worked on,” said Gina Flesher, project point person. “What joy it is to know children will feel secure and love for many years to come. This is not a shelter, this is a home.”

Though construction is complete for the shelter, on which work began in mid-June, there are still several items needed to complete the mission of a new safe place for children in need to go. Items have been registered at Walmart, The Lemon Tree, Distinctive Décor, Ace Hardware, Woolseys, A-1 Appliance.

“We are hopeful that everything at the new shelter will be new,” Flesher said. “It is a home registry with many items needed from small to big. There’s something for everyone’s budget.”

The shelter will house bedrooms for boys, girls and an infant room, as well as a visitation room, kitchen area, and recreation room. The project had an estimated cost of $749,000. Between donations from individuals, civic clubs, churches, businesses, and other organizations, as well as grants received, during the past four to five years, the goal was met earlier this year.

“I am at a loss for words,” said Barbra Davis, Youth Shelter director. “I want everyone to understand that this could not be possible without everyone’s love and help.”

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