Harris Home celebrates seniors, looks to expand programs

Published: Jun. 24, 2022 at 8:03 AM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - A group of seniors from the Harris Home for Children in Huntsville, have graduated and are heading off to college. The pandemic was just one of the challenges for many of these kids, but they overcame the odds.

Harris Home is the only crisis program in Alabama, which means it serves kids all across the state. Executive Director Reggie McKenzie said his team bought a large property in Huntsville to give the kids a therapeutic home-like environment.

“A couple of our young men were struggling in school and in certain environments,” McKenzie said. “So we thought this would be the bridge to get them to where they needed to be.”

Harris Home is the only crisis program in Alabama

McKenzie said Harris Home leaders want to buy more land and expand their programs.

“We are excited for what is to come, and the future of Harris Home for Children,” he said.

Education Coordinator Dr. Randy Barbour said some of the seniors who graduated are first generation college students. Barbour started working at Harris Home two years ago, right when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The kids were learning how to navigate virtual school, and utilize the resources provided to them.

“I want to give a shoutout to Lee High School for their support,” Barbour said. “There are a lot of barriers to success for foster children. They helped us and partnered with us to make sure that our kids were successful.”

During the pandemic, it was tough to inspire the young men to learn. But, they were able to network with community partners, and learn about the opportunities that are out there waiting for them.

“I’m just extremely proud. When we were at graduation on the 27th of May, I shed tears for our young men because we have been through so much,” Barbour said. “You go through that time where you are looking back at what you all experienced...The heartache, the triumphs, the victories. This was a really really high moment for a lot of them. Each of them have different talents and skills that they bring to the table, and they are going to go off to do some phenomenal things.”

Harris Home for Children is always looking for community partnerships. They also need tutors and mentors.

If you’d like get involved at Harris Home, you can call 256-837-0332. You are also welcome to stop by the Harris Home office on Church Street to learn more about their needs and other ways to partner.

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