The Journey house is situated on 18 acres of pasture, with 3 small gardens, one large garden, world class trout fishing stream, fruit trees, and an world class wood shop and garage. The house the young men live in is an amazing farmhouse with 5 bedrooms, kitchen, 2 living rooms, laundry room, mud room, and quaint front porch. In the summer, flowers bloom all around the house, and the fruit trees bloom. Running in front of the house is the mill pond that feeds the Old Mill Grist wheel. The Old Mill, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is one of only two working grist mills in West Virginia. During the summer and fall, we operate the mill to grind corn for local farmers and producers.
Living in a house give the young men an opportunity to experience things most young adults take for granted or never have the opportunity to experience – managing a household. They also learn to care for animals and developing a connection to them. Clients develop the ability to provide for themselves by gardening, spending time with animals, fishing or just sitting my the river, walking in the park, working in the wood shop, going to the library, working out at the gym, volunteering at one of the many organizations in our community.
Including all the chores and maintenance that goes with the house, if something needs fixed, upgraded, repaired, plunged, or painted, the young men participate in the process with us. They learn how to change a lightbulb or repair a toilet. While doing this, they develop a great sense of ownership and pride in successfully operating their household.
Each day begins by getting up and ready for their day. Each young man’s day is different depending on their work or school schedule, but they have common individual and household chores to complete before heading out for work.
Breakfast and lunch are planned and prepared on their own, and dinner, depending on working schedules can be prepared as a group or individually. Those who need cooking help, have the mentor there to assist in executing the meal they planned for.
The bedrooms are comfortable, and each young man will most likely share a room with a roommate. They can decorate and fix up their rooms however they see fit (as long as it’s appropriate). They each have a laundry day assigned, as well as specific chores that rotate each week.
Some of the young men have jobs in the community, or within the Q&A businesses such as the Breakfast Nook Restaurant, Venus Pizza, Deerfield Mini-Golf, or working for Matt with the Cable Company he owns. With these opportunities to develop core job skills within the program, most clients will be able to move on to other jobs in the community.
Saddles and Smiles
Saddles & Smiles is a non-profit providing equine assisted learning experiences for children and young adults in the local community. With an all volunteer team, the young men participate in the planning and execution of two camps each summer. The activities including instructing in basic horse care, riding instruction/support, creative crafting, and relationship building. They also get to come support clients of Saddles & Smiles during individual sessions. They young men also provide support for the horses during hay making season, volunteering to help put up hay that we cut ourselves.