BCFS ADDING NEW ‘OUR HOUSE’
By LORETTA FULTON
A new seven-bedroom house will someday be built on Vine Street, not far from where a similar house now stands.
The new house, just like the current one, will be special. Right now, BCFS operates Our House on Vine Street, a home for up to five young men ages 18-22, who live with a supervisor to help guide them. The new house will be for six women, also ages 18-22, and one resident supervisor. All the residents undergo drug screenings and background checks before being allowed to live at Our House or the new house for women.
“We don’t want to bring someone in who’s not going to be successful,” said Will Meiron, Our House director who joined BCFS in July 2018.
Meiron, who grew up in Abilene, was guest speaker for the Oct. 23 meeting of the Abilene Association of Congregations. The next meeting will be Nov. 20 at Wylie United Methodist Church. Meetings open at 11:45 a.m. with lunch, which costs $3, and end at 1 p.m. The public is invited.
BCFS is a global system of human service nonprofit organizations with locations and programs throughout the United States, Eastern Europe, Latin America, South Asia, and Africa. A office was established in Abilene in 2012.
Meiron is in charge of four programs for BCFS, including a new one, Helping through Intervention of Prevention or HIP.
“We just got that one,” Meiron said.
Helping through Intervention and Prevention (HIP) began in 2014, as part of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services’ Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) division, to provide support services to high-risk families with newborns.
Another program that Meiron oversees is a lifeskills program, Preparation for Adult Living or PAL. According to the BCFS websote. the program “provides services to youth aging out of the foster care system to expand their skills and knowledge, strengthen their self-confidence, create healthy community relationships, and learn self-guidance. PAL provides transition services to foster youth and alumni from ages 15 1/2 to 21 in order to better prepare young adults for their freedom.”
Another program is for young people ages 16-25 who were in foster care. The program is tied to the Texas Workforce Commission.
“We want you to find a job,” Meiron tells the participants, “we want you to finish your education.”
The program provides education and training vouchers to help the participants meet their education and employment goals.
303 S. Pioneer Drive
BCFS is conducting a capital campaign to build a house on Vine Street similar to Our House, which also is on Vine Street. The new house will be for young women ages 18-22. BCFS also is looking for a resident assistant, who must be between the ages of 23 and 35. For more information on BCFS, to apply for the RA position, or to inquire about assisting with the new house, contact Will Meiron, 325-718-3332.
Another program administered by BCFS is called Project HOPES or Healthy Outcomes Through Prevention & Early Support. The goal of Project HOPES is to “provide flexible, community-based programs to support families with young children 0-5 years of age to overcome any barriers they might be facing” according to the BCFS website.
The BCFS office at 303 S. Pioneer Drive is open to all young people ages 16-25. They can come in during office hours for refreshments, to use a computer, or to visit or seek assistance. BCFS currently is looking for a resident assistant for Our House. An RA must be between 23 and 35 and meet certain requirements.
“We’re trying to find someone to be a good role model,” Meiron said.