Twin Falls Optimist Youth House
With Barry Knoblich
Barry started thinking about the mission of the Optimist Youth House in 2014 when told by a woman he knew from CASA (CASA volunteers are appointed by judges to advocate for the best interest of abused and neglected children in court and other settings) about a young man sleeping in the car of a friend because he had aged out of Foster Care and had no place to live.
He started to look into the facts and found that there were some services for this age group, but in most cases, they needed a place to live. One of the county commissioners, Jack Johnson, is a member of the TF Optimist Club and Barry asked him if he had anything. Johnson said they had a building but that they had already started demolition of the property.
Barry asked Johnson if he could look at the building because it was an optimal location. They drove right to the property and looked it over even though they didn’t have the keys. Barry asked Jack if he could stop the demolition until the site could be investigated as a possibility for a future youth house.
The county was able to donate the house for the purpose but Barry was told that the roof was no longer functional. They reached out to Rainguard Roofing, did not know the owner, Shae Mayner, when he visited the site and took measurements. He told me that it would be very expensive and difficult. As he was leaving, it was snowing outside. Shae asked Barry, “What’s this going to be used for?” Barry said “This will be a home for young people who have aged out of Foster Care.” Shae’s expression indicated recognition so Barry asked, “You know something about Foster Kids?” And he said, “Yes, we used to be Foster Parents.” Barry asked, “You’re not anymore?” And Shae replied, “No. We adopted them.”
So from that useful conversation, he became one of our major donors and he donated that roof! Since that time we have found that when people find out what we’re doing, their hearts are touched and they want to help. Almost everything we’ve needed to complete the renovation of the house has been donated or discounted—there have been very few items that we’ve had to pay full price.
It’s been like that since the beginning . . . the contractors have made all the difference in the renovation of this house. The Volunteers have made a HUGE donation to the House. All of the demolition and all of the prep work was done solely by volunteers.