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December 29, 2013

Youth shelter celebrates Christmas at new location

DUNCAN — Santa Claus didn’t forget the children at the Stephens County Youth Shelter.

In fact, Barbra Davis, youth shelter director, said the shelter had a successful Christmas. Children in the care of the shelter celebrated the holiday at the new shelter location at 810 N. Fifth.

“It’s going great,” Davis said about the youth shelter. “It’s totally different than what we’re used to. The house was beautifully decorated for Christmas.”

Initial work toward the shelter project began in 2008, when land was donated for that purpose. Between January 2009 and December 2013, the Youth Services of Stephens County Board, youth shelter employees and an array of community members worked together to raise funds for the building project.

More than $1 million was collected to build the new shelter. An open house took place earlier this month to allow community members an opportunity to see what their efforts created. The new home replaced a house that has been used as the youth shelter since 1979.

The new youth shelter got its license following successful walk-throughs prior to children moving into the house. The holiday occupants started moving in Dec. 20, three days earlier than projected.

Davis said there were some children who were in respite homes until Thursday, and she was glad they were able to be in a family environment for the holiday. But she said the goal of the youth shelter is to also maintain a family home atmosphere.

“It was warm and cozy,” Davis said. “It will make a positive impact on them.”

For the holiday, children at the shelter received a variety of gifts. For the women who run the shelter, they got a new house in time for the holiday.

Davis said the children love the house and are glad they got the opportunity to spend Christmas in the new location. Some of the children in the house have stayed at the previous location.

One child said he had his “best Christmas ever” because he was surrounded by people who love him.

“We love all of them,” she said.

She said the new shelter is an exciting addition to the positive works of the Stephens County community. She said a lot of good things will come from the community’s generosity.

But with a new location comes new rules and guidelines for children and employees alike, she said.

“I think the biggest thing is adjusting to the new environment,” Davis said.

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