In addition to providing court-ordered home-based services to youth involved in the juvenile justice system, Chase Home serves as the physical home for dozens of youth throughout the year, which creates challenges. One such challenge is how to provide the opportunity for all our older residents to obtain a driver’s license.
“Title I money pays for two staff who can go out with the kids, but we do not have the capacity to bring everyone out who is eligible for driver’s ed,” says Chase Home Executive Director Meme Wheeler. “We really need to get these kids driving hours.”
According to Chase Home Board Member Rob Levey, Chase Home is charged with the task of meeting all the needs of their residents, which often places staff in the role as surrogate parents.
“We have the unique opportunity as an organization to help these youth achieve some measure of independence when they are with us—and for most kids, that definitely entails learning to drive,” he says. “For a variety of reasons, their parents are often not involved in their children’s lives.”
Acknowledging the likelihood of more funding to pay for additional staff time is unlikely, Wheeler said it is her hope to solicit support from the larger community.
“We are looking for a handful of volunteers to donate some time toward the kids’ driving hours,” she said. “It’s such a rewarding experience, and it would say a lot to the kids who are hoping to get some support.”
Serving 36% of youth requiring intermediate placement in New Hampshire, Chase Home was founded in 1877 and is one of five intermediate level group homes in the state. To become a volunteer, call Wheeler at (603) 436-2216. To learn more, visit www.chasehome.org.