Pentz Run Youth Services Offers Additional Housing with New Building | News
DuBOIS — The 20-year expansion of Pentz Run Youth Services is finally complete, providing additional, self-contained housing for at-risk and disadvantaged youth.
Executive Director Debbie Gregori said PRYS opened the new facility in September 2020 and faced some challenges along the way, such as licensing delays. The young people were able to move into the new apartments in January this year.
Pentz Run’s main facility at 319 Daly St. in DuBois has a group home and an 18-bed shelter.
With the expansion, a total of 31 youngsters can fit into Pentz Run, Gregori said, when he was previously 18 to 20 years old. The new building, which includes living units and a transitional apartment, is specifically intended for people aged 18 and over.
“I wanted to expand on the individual part of things,” she says. “I know there are older kids who need opportunities they can’t get outside of here.”
Gregori said they always knew they needed more space, including indoor recreation and storage space. Over the years, stays were usually 6 to 12 months long, but now young people are staying longer.
Giving these older youngsters such a sense of independence, Gregori said, gives them something to look forward to and work for once they’re gone, also teaching them about responsibility, safety and other important life lessons. .
They have more freedom for time above ground, but also have restrictions to follow, she said. In the main building, there can be three young people per room, while in the new establishment, each resident has their own room.
“They proved that we can trust them,” Gregori said. “We teach them normal teenage situations.”
The recreation room in the new building offers several activities for young people, including a basketball hoop and an air hockey table.
Pentz Run has been collecting donations and fundraising for this expansion for years by hosting events such as its Walmart truck sale and golf tournament, Gregori said.
Young people residing in the new building are “ecstatic”, she said. One has been with Pentz Run for two years, waiting to move into her own space.
Hunter, Madison and Shae, the young people from Pentz Run living in the new building, raved about their new lifestyle, noting how nice everything is and having more space and their own bedrooms.
It’s a comfortable environment with more freedoms for older kids, Hunter said.
It’s good that they are given more confidence, added Madison.
Young people also seem to enjoy decorating their new spaces, with rooms featuring fairy lights, photos and other personal touches.
Placed through the justice system, Pentz Run also welcomes young people from other areas in need of help, such as Bradford and Franklin, never accepting anyone who might disrupt the home and comfort of its current residents, Gregori said.
Local support throughout this endeavor has also been tremendous, she said, noting that some items for the new recreation hall, such as sports equipment, were donated by members of the community.