HEART TO HEART: Reeling kids into a peaceful escape

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ABILENE, Texas (KRBC) — Some Abilene businessmen are reeling kids into a peaceful escape!

The Audrey Grace House in Abilene, recently received a fishing dock, which was donated by local businessmen, who are also a part of a non-profit called “The 100 Men Who Care”.

The Audrey Grace House is a residential treatment center for kids who have been removed from their homes, hoping to one day reunite them with their original families or find a new one.

“We just saw a need and met it,” Kent Beck of Kent Beck Motors in Abilene said.

When Beck made it out to the residential facility, he noticed something was missing.

“I couldn’t build a fishing dock. I can sell you a lot of cars but, I couldn’t build a fishing dock,” Beck said.

However, Ken Draper could and wanted to.

“They’ve been through a lot of stuff that they’ve never had to go through and we can change that,”Ken Draper, owner of Carpenter Ken Construction said. “I like to teach kids things. Get them involved because a lot of the stuff I do is going to last a life time and letting them kids be a part of that means the world.”

With some funding and putting the right people in place to get it built. the dock was hooked within six months.

“It’s kind of a diversion. A lot of times, the kids will come in and they don’t really want to tell some of their stories. Some of it’s kind of painful,” Clinical director, Carlton Burke said.

With the new dock, the lake behind the Audrey Grace House is more accessible and the kids go fishing more often, because of it! It’s helped the kids relax and open up to the facility’s therapists, like Burke.

“It’s really a non-threatening way to talk to kids. It’s really helpful,” Burke said.

“It was very difficult for our kids to go down and fish. They needed a way where they could reach further out into the water. As you can see, it’s got cattails and some issues but with the dock, they’re able to actually go out on the water and we;ve caught a lot of fish in the process,” Development director of New Horizons, Hollie White said.

It even brings out some of the kids who have never fished before.

“You know, nobody ever took them and so, being able to come out here and teach them how to fish and watching their face when they catch their first fish and they just freak out and you get their first picture with it. It’s a really fun thing for them,” Burke said.

This dock allows the kids to make room for more happier memories.

“We’ve had to buy a lot more fishing gear for them,” Burke chuckled. “The kids now, they’re more invested working to save up some money and then buying their own gear, getting their own tackle box.”

The facility houses kids on average of 9 to 12 months, before they reunite with their families or go of to a foster or adoptive family.

 “These kiddos need somebody to love on them and kids love to fish and there’s good therapy in fishin’,” Beck said.

These young anglers are forever grateful for their new addition.    

“Very rarely is there a day that there’s not somebody on that dock and it’s all ages, even girls,” The Audrey Grace House program director Michelle Perkins said.

Now, enjoying the new stress-free environment they were reeled away from.

“Our community to me is in crisis and there’s a lot of need for our little kids and these little kids didn’t asked to be where they’re at and this is a good place and they truly love these kids,” Beck said.

Kent Beck is part of the Abilene chapter, The 100 Men Who Care. It’s an organization where the 100 members donate $100 dollars to a local non-profit after learning about an organization’s specific needs. After helping out, New Horizons, Beck recognized the additional need for the dock and that’s how the project began. Boyd Fencing also made a fence for the basketball court on the New Horizons property.

For other New Horizons properties, click here.

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