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Youth shelter in Forsyth County celebrates new building
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To connect with Jesse’s House, or find a list of needs in its quarterly newsletter, visit jesseshouse.org.

FORSYTH COUNTY — A Forsyth County youth shelter for girls recently celebrated its first expansion in 10 years, allowing more space for both operations and comfortable living.

The growth of Jesse’s House, a nonprofit that ensures a safe and structured environment for at-risk girls ages 7-17, involved the construction of a new administration building adjacent to the girls’ housing.

Before, everything was done in the housing building, an old doctor’s office that was renovated for the organization in 2004, according to Nancy Perry, a board member and facilities and project coordinator.

Staff members had to work out of the same building the girls lived in, preventing much-wanted privacy other teenage girls may take for granted.

“It keeps all of the day-to-day business out of their living quarters and allows them the freedom and flexibility to make that their home,” Perry said. “If anyone came in to make a donation, or deliver the mail, they couldn’t come past the very front.

“It separates the two. And it gives them a large recreational space in the basement [of the new building] to use during inclement weather.”

The new building holds central operations, as well as counseling.

There will still be a maximum of 12 bedrooms for 12 girls available in the housing building, Perry said.

“We’re hoping to expand services to the community with counseling down the road, so they can get help before they even get to Jesse’s House,” she said. “It opens up a whole realm of possibilities.”

A capital outlay project began in May 2014 with construction beginning in June. They moved into the 2,000-square-foot building in November, with five to seven staff members operating from the space. That does not include staff who stays overnight with the girls.

A garden space was created between the two structures that allows the girls privacy to meet with their families in a secure environment.

“There’s still a whole lot of green space behind the building. We’re still looking for funds to put in a basketball hoop, and we always need volunteers to work inside and outside the shelter,” Perry said.

She said the expansion has been a dream of the organization for about seven years. Running exclusively on donations, they had to wait to collect the funds to make it happen.

“It improved the quality of living for the girls,” she said. “It has improved the day-to-day business for the administration.”