HARLINGEN — Young adults who have experienced neglect or abandonment as a child and are in need of a little extra help as they transition into adulthood will soon have a place to call home while they find their footing.
Sunny Glen Children’s Home, a nonprofit organization that provides a home for abused and neglected children, is gearing up to open its Sunny Glen Transitional Living Center.
The center will be located on Jackson Street in downtown Harlingen and will provide housing for Sunny Glen graduates as they age out of the nonprofit’s campus in San Benito.
“We’re grateful for this opportunity,” Sunny Glen Children’s Home director Chase Palmer said. “We’re excited for our young people.”
The nonprofit has been providing its services to children in need since 1936.
Palmer said the center’s supervised independent living program aims to help young adults who are transitioning out of high school, but are not ready to be on their own yet.
“We’ve always had all ages of kids at Sunny Glen and one of the gaps that we’ve identified is that transition from a child that turns 18 in foster care and then a lot of times will age out,” Palmer said. “So we wanted to create a program where those young adults can go live independently, but also have the support and services that Sunny Glen can provide for them while assisting them in continuing their education.”
According to Palmer, the independent living program will be open to young adults who were in the state foster system and are in need of a service such as this one.
Residents will receive case management support and transportation to their jobs or continuing education, as well as have access to counselors and mentors who can provide a support system for them while they make their transition.
“They’ll have to have at least a part-time job,” Palmer said. “There’s other expectations and things of that nature that we’ll be interviewing them to make sure that they’re a good fit for the program and can really take full advantage of this great opportunity.”
Palmer estimates there will be about eight to 10 spots available.
“We have at least one young person in our program currently that would qualify to immediately be able to transition into that facility and really take that next step in their transition,” Palmer said. “They’re in a vocational program currently in TSTC.”
The center’s projected grand opening is Aug. 29.
“We’re just a couple of months away and we’re very excited to say the least,” Palmer said. “We’re happy to be able to get to this point in the project.”
The center has a master suite, as well as three large bedrooms that each have a restroom.
“It’s a beautiful living facility,” Palmer said. “You walk in and there’s a large kitchen with a huge center island, multiple ovens and refrigerators, a large living area and there’s a home office where probably our case manager will be able to office out of and meet with the residents on a regular basis.”
The two-story building will not only serve as a home for the program’s residents.
The first floor of the building will be a resale thrift store where the residents can work part-time, as well as help generate revenue to assist in the support of the program.
According to Palmer, the project began nearly two years ago when the downtown building was purchased.
“It’s been through a lot of planning and meetings to really make sure that we had everything in order and this was the direction that we wanted to go to use that facility,” Palmer said. “So it’s been a long process and we’re at the tail end of it to see it all come into fruition.”
Those interested in supporting the nonprofit’s efforts are able to volunteer as a mentor, donate resalable items to the center’s resale thrift store or make a monetary donation online at www.sunnyglen.org.
“We’re grateful to the community and thankful for all of the support,” Palmer said. “We’re looking forward to becoming a part of the downtown remodeling that’s going on within the City of Harlingen and we hope that we can be a part of that for generations to come.”