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Addition under way at Jesses House
Community praised for quick campaign
Nancy Perry, chairwoman of the Jesses House capital campaign, presents the beginning of a new facility to board members of the Benjamin F. Brady Foundation on Friday. The Brady Foundation was one of several community organizations who, along with other individuals and businesses, contributed to a spring capital campaign to raise funds for the new building. Brady board members, from left, are Ronnie Pilcher, Phill Bettis, Jimmy Myers and Eric Chofnas. - photo by Crystal Ledford

FORYSTH COUNTY — An addition to a local home for displaced girls is well on its way to completion.

Jesse’s House, which provides temporary or long-term shelter to girls between the ages of 7 and 17, held a fundraising campaign in May. The goal was to generate $100,000 to build a new building adjacent to the current facility.

Nancy Perry, who chaired the campaign, said the goal was reached in 30 days.

“We were just hoping to raise the money as quickly as we could,” she said. “We were blown away by the generosity of our community.”

She said construction of the new facility began in June. Officials hope it will be completed in time for November occupancy.

On Friday, board members of the Benjamin F. Brady Foundation, one of many organizations, businesses and individuals that contributed to the project, got their first look at the structure’s progress.

“We [at the Brady Foundation] have done a lot of work with the Bald Ridge Boys’ Lodge and we wanted to also help out the young ladies who are in need,” said Phill Bettis, chairman of the foundation’s board of directors.

“It’s exciting to see this building going up because it will make a big difference in the lives of these young ladies.”  

The addition will free up the current structure for use solely as girls’ bedrooms and other living spaces such as study areas and the kitchen and family room. 

Administrative and counseling offices, a conference room and an indoor recreation area will be moved into the new building.

The expansion will also be used for records storage, which is vital due to state regulations.

Amber Black, executive director of Jesse’s House, said the new building won’t change the housing arrangement for the girls, but it will improve their quality of life since through more privacy.

“This is their home right now and that’s how we like to treat it,” she said when the campaign began. “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 them more room for activities and recreation, which is key when working with teens, 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 of the new building.”

The expansion plans also include the addition of an outdoor basketball court.

“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 for their success,” Black said.