Thanks to the generosity of a charitable organization with 900-year-old roots, one of Advent’s outdated residential homes now has a “totally new feel” — an appropriate atmosphere for young people who are pursuing totally changed lives.
The kids who come to Advent's residential program need a warm and inviting place to call home while they seek recovery. They should feel safe and comfortable, free to focus on the difficult tasks of conquering their addictions and overcoming the traumas of their pasts.
Since 1989, the Laurel home has been a safe haven forhundreds of these troubled teens, a place where they can receive the treatment, education, and life skills they need to reclaim hope for their future, to realize their potential and to restore their lives.
But after 23 years of housing at-risk youth, Laurel stood in need of some serious TLC.
Enter the Sovereign Order of St. John, an organization with a tradition of serving humanity that goes back to the time of the First Crusade. Last March, Advent asked the Sovereign Order of St. John (short for Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem Knights Hospitaller, St. Joseph Commandery) if it would help us completely remodel Laurel.
Dr. Fran Harvey, of the Sovereign Order of St. John, came out to tour the home and learn more about the program and its needs. As a result, the Sovereign Order of St. John rewarded Advent a $100,000 grant to remodel Laurel!
The construction began in November 2012 and was completed in January.
The Order’s gift was so generous that, in addition to the originally planned changes, we were able to pile on a few more: new wall-to-wall rubber flooring in the weight room, new ceiling fixtures throughout the house, a new garage door, new furniture in the bedrooms and kitchen, an extra skylight, and total replacement of the fireplace tile and mantel.
In celebration of all this change, we also gave the house a new name: The Knights of St. John House.
“In a word, the project has been awesome,” said Advent CEO Mark Miller. “With a combination of the right contractors and a huge number of talented volunteers, the project has met all of its goals, and then some. The result is a home that is going to be a wonderful place for our kids to live in. From the big changes (new air conditioning, new carpets, new tile, and so on) to the smallest (new closet poles, new heat registers, lining paper in the kitchen cabinets), the home has a totally new feel.”
There are still a couple of changes to come — a new basketball court and a new carport, as well as the purchase of a new van. We already have the necessary materials donated and have scheduled a volunteer group to begin construction in April.
We also are planning a party to celebrate the home’s new name and new feel.
The impact that our numerous volunteers and generous contractors have had on this project is immeasurable. Thank you to the Sovereign Order of St. John, our contractors and volunteers for blessing the socks off of the kids and staff at Advent!