October 21, 2015 12:00 AM | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Peggy Harris knows that a bed in a clean, secure home can make a difference to a troubled teen.
The president and CEO of Three Rivers Youth is in charge of five facilities that serve as temporary homes for troubled youth, and this month three of them (two in Brighton Heights and one in Mt. Lebanon) are getting face-lifts from volunteers who are updating kitchens, bathrooms, flooring, storage, lighting, furnishings, windows, roofing and landscaping.
The volunteers are from Lowe’s, which is drawing people and resources from its 18 regional stores to work on the facilities.
Three Rivers Youth is an independent, nonprofit child welfare agency serving abused, neglected, troubled, homeless and runaway youth from the Pittsburgh region since 1880. One of the Brighton Heights facilities, on Termon Avenue, is the site of the original home.
Most of the residents are ages 13 to 18, though some choose to remain up to age 21, Ms. Harris said. They live in the Three Rivers Youth homes for weeks to months at a time, depending on their family situations and Children Youth and Families recommendations. Three Rivers offers therapeutic group homes, family crisis and support services, foster care, educational support, drug and alcohol prevention and intervention, and behavioral health services.
“These are the children’s homes, though they are temporary homes,” Ms. Harris said. “It’s really, really making a difference to be able to live, at least for some short time, where they can have some hope. Many have never had their own bedrooms, or their own bed. For some children it’s providing an experience they’ve never had. It’s important to the work we do to heal and nurture.”
The volunteer program, called Lowe’s Heroes, is a companywide volunteer initiative that offers Lowe’s employees the opportunity to work on a project in their own neighborhoods.
“The children, families and staff of Three Rivers Youth are grateful to the Lowe’s Heroes volunteers for their generosity and spirit of community-mindedness. Our youth and families will benefit from this caring and good-neighbor support well into the future,” Ms. Harris said.