DUNCAN, Okla._ The Stephens County Youth Shelter will soon move out of their 70-year-old building on 8th Street here and into a new, state-of-the art facility on 5th Street.
The shelter will house, feed and provide clothing for up to 10 kids, newborn to 18-years-old, across Stephens, Jefferson and Cotton Counties.
The project, which was started nearly five years ago, did not receive any federal, state or local funding. Stephens County Youth Services was able to raise more than $1 million toward the project. They have used $775,000 so far and plan to reinvest the remainder of their funds into functional and operational needs.
"This began as a dream of the women who work the shelter program; they knew they wanted something better," says Barbara Davis, the shelter's program director.
Davis says her colleagues and the dozens of donors are to thank for the new facility.
"It's a testament of the community when there's a need, and in particular (a) need for children in this community, everybody responds," says Jason Hicks, a youth services board member.
Nancy Roop is a longtime board member and says it was time to move into a newer space with expanded amenities including a large and open living space.
The kids they support and will support in the future is the motivation behind all the hard work, they agree. Despite demand being greater than what they have room for, they're still making an impact and changing lives, says Davis.
"Success is tied to feeling like you belong to something bigger than just yourself and your trauma," says Davis. "All children need to be successful is one key person."