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Jesse’s House launches capital campaign

Backs construction of second building

POSTED: May 5, 2014 12:04 a.m.
Crystal Ledford /

Amber Black, executive director of Jesse’s House, an emergency and long-term shelter for girls, talks about the organization's upcoming capital campaign.

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FORSYTH COUNTY — Leaders of an emergency and long-term shelter for girls hope the community will stand behind them as they kick off a fundraising campaign.

Amber Black, executive director of Jesse’s House, said the nonprofit home for girls age 7 to 17 involved in Department of Family and Children Services cases is embarking on a $100,000 capital campaign. Funds raised will go toward completing a new building adjacent to the existing facility.

Black said she and the board of directors are hoping to begin construction within the next couple of months. The new building will house administrative and counseling offices, a conference room and an indoor recreation area.

“My office really isn’t very private and I have two people out [front] who really don’t have an office at all, and we deal with a lot of confidential information, so that’s really going to benefit everyone,” Black said.

The expansion will also be used for storage, which is vital to the home due to state regulations on records, and an outdoor courtyard area between the two structures.

The current building will continue to serve as housing for the girls. Due to state regulations, the facility’s capacity of 12 girls will not increase.

Each girl at Jesse’s House has her own private bedroom, and the girls share common areas such as a study/library area, kitchen and family room.

While the new building won’t change the housing arrangement for the girls, Black said it will improve their quality of life by allowing them more privacy.

“This is their home right now and that’s how we like to treat it,” Black said. “We don’t give tours when they’re here because this is their home.

“Right now, we do counseling in the game room, so this will allow the girls to be able to feel like they’re getting out of their house and going into a more confidential, separate location.”

It will also allow more room for activities and recreation, which is vital when working with teenagers, she said.

“You want to keep them busy in a positive way,” she said. “We’ll be able to have a group of girls working on a puzzle in the game room and another group maybe exercising with a staff member in the recreation area.”

The expansion plans also include the addition of an outdoor basketball court, where a storage shed stands.

“After all the emotional toll that [these girls] have already gone through in coming here, being able to release that in a physical way is going to be really beneficial,” Black said.

Through the capital campaign, individuals, businesses and groups can donate at various levels. They can also sponsor specific areas, such as the conference room, an outdoor deck or the recreation area.

Black hopes the community will get behind the effort. She said Jesse’s House assisted 50 girls, about half of whom were from Forsyth, in 2013. So far this year, the facility has worked with 20 girls from seven different counties.

“Since we opened in 1998, we’ve helped over 700 young women and we feel this capital campaign is very important for us to continue that important work,” she said.

 

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