Home for the Holidays 2023

Home for the Holidays 2023

Home for the Holidays

Tony was known for his “tough-guy” persona, a quietness that conveyed he wasn’t the kind of kid you wanted to mess with. For years, his life had been characterized by instability and neglect, so at 17 years old, Tony often found it difficult to open up to other people. 

Tony and his older brother Derrick did not have a place to call home—they only had each other. They had been staying with their cousins, who after a while eventually kicked them out. It was just after Thanksgiving last year, when neither Tony nor his brother had anywhere else to go. 

Derrick had found a bed at a homeless shelter, but because of Tony’s age, they wouldn’t let Tony stay. The brothers were out of options. So Derrick took Tony to a nearby QuikTrip, and waited with him outside until help arrived. They were at a designated Safe Place, and help was on the way thanks to Stephanie, the Safe Place Coordinator at Jonathan’s Place.

With the help of our donors and partners, Jonathan’s Place is honored to provide a safe place, a loving home, and a promising future to the neglected children, teens, and young adults in our community, especially during the holiday season. Like Perry Como says, “There is no place like home for the holidays.” That is why, when youth like Tony have nowhere else to go, we are ready to receive them at our Emergency Shelter with open arms and give them the gift of a place they can call home.

The Emergency Shelter at Jonathan’s Place is how we’re able to provide safety and security to the kids in our care, until more permanent arrangements can be made as they begin their long journey toward healing. 

As an emergency shelter, we provide temporary residential care and specialized services to children who have been abandoned or removed from their homes. We are the only organization in our area that can accept kids ranging in age from newborn to 18, which allows us to keep sibling groups together.

Our Emergency Shelter provides safety to children removed from their homes by Child Protect Services and throughout the community, through our Safe Place Program.  Kids like Tony who come to our shelter through Safe Place are typically allowed to stay for approximately three days. However, because we couldn’t fathom Tony being on the streets by himself, especially during Christmas, and because there was no one in Tony’s life who was willing to pick him up, we were more than happy to make an exception in his case, and Tony was allowed to stay and celebrate Christmas with our Jonathan’s Place family.

Though the Christmas lists had already been submitted for our annual Jonathan’s Place holiday party, we rallied our community to fulfill a wish list for him. The Texas State Troopers went above and beyond the call of duty to shower him with gifts. When he unwrapped a pair of brand new Jordans, Tony, the kid with the “tough guy persona,” began to cry. Soon there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. 

And, as a final gift, Jonathan’s Place purchased a bus ticket for Tony to travel to Louisiana to stay with his grandma, where he would be safe and loved.

The holiday season is also a special time of year for the girls and young women in our Girls’ Therapeutic and Transitional Living Programs. Kayla is one of these girls, and she has been staying with us for a little over two years. 

We first met Kayla in the summer of 2020, when she was 16. She had been removed from her home due to child abuse. There was evidence of strangulation, bruises on her legs where she had been whipped by a belt, and additional injuries on her neck. Her mother was arrested and her stepfather fled the scene.

Kayla was placed in three different foster homes, and was usually discharged because of behavioral issues. It got to the point where no one wanted to take her in. However, Jonathan’s Place took a chance on her.  

Kayla was in the Girls Therapeutic Program (GTP) for about a year. The GTP provides long-term residential therapeutic care to girls ages 10–17 who require a higher level of therapeutic care than the children in our Emergency Shelter. After the first year Kayla showed so much improvement that we were able to transition her to our Transitional Living program (TLP), where she continued to thrive. 

During her time in the TLP, Kayla earned her high school diploma, received three college acceptance letters, and learned about self-sufficiency through hands-on lessons emphasizing educational, vocational, financial, domestic, and personal safety skills.

Now a student at Texas State University, Kayla is planning to spend her winter break with us, and our hearts are full. We have seen her grow to become the remarkable young woman she is today, so it gives us a warm sense of pride to say that Kayla is coming home for Christmas—to Jonathan’s Place.

A safe place. A loving home. A promising future. For youth like Kayla and Tony, and for every child, teen, and young adult who comes through our doors. And with our recent acquisition of Promise House’s 19,679 square foot campus, as well as its Wesley Inn Maternity Program, we are able to provide a home for the holidays to more youth than ever before. 

Our dedicated staff members strive to help the children and teens we serve feel at home while under the care of Jonathan’s Place, and all of our programs are made available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, ensuring no child will ever spend the holidays alone as long as we’re here.

Because of the generous support of our donors, the kids in our care have a place they can call home for the holidays—and for every season of the year. Whether they’re a homeless teen mother in the Wesley Inn Program, or a pair of young siblings in our Emergency Shelter, Jonathan’s Place is the place where these children find healing through the loving, unconditional relationships that define all of our programs and services. 

This holiday season, we hope you’ll consider making a gift to Jonathan’s Place, to help even more kids in our community celebrate the holidays in a place that they can truly call home. Please make a gift today!