Reichert House Expansion
By Dan Breitwieser, WCJB TV 20 News.
The Reichert House currently works with more than 100 teens, keeping their heads on straight and teaching them to be men. But only 2 live outside Gainesville, with parents who bring them back and forth. But that could change soon.
It's another day of learning at Oak View Middle School in Newberry. But once kids close their books at the end of the school day, many are opening up a troublesome can of worms.
"What may start off that's innocent and just hanging out with the kids can sometimes turn into a little mischief or other things because boredom sets in," says Oak View Principal Karen Clarke.
The after-school opportunities for teens in Archer and Newberry are fairly limited. Sports is about the only option. But the grades of many at-risk teens keeps them sitting on the sidelines.
The Reichert House keeps many at-risk teenage boys on track in Gainesville. And Newberry city leaders want to duplicate that success on the western side of the Alachua County.
"We've had an increase, and it's been going on for a number of years, in drug activity in Newberry and the Archer communities," says Newberry mayor John Glanzer.
Reichert House is run by Gainesville police. With a building, with transportation, food and volunteers, Alachua Sheriff's Deputies say they can make a second house happen.
"Our issue may be dealing with more so violence," says Reichert House Administrative Director John Alexander. "They may be dealing with more so substance abuse so to each his own. There will be some differences in the program. But overall, we'll be the same kind of work, dealing with the same kind of kids."
Newberry has applied for a million dollar federal grant that would be a big boost in getting things off the ground. They should hear the results sometime before summer.
"If there's not money available, we need to find a way to fund it," says Glanzer.
And Clarke says once the teacher goes home for the day, a new program would a long way to help her pupils that need it the most.
"I think the potential is really unlimited for positive things for our kids with an expansion like this," says Clarke.
Glanzer says the teenage girls have not been forgotten. He hopes the grant money could also set up a similar program for females.
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