By Jim McClure –
The only private treatment home and school for girls in the state of Wisconsin has begun a $500,000 campaign to meet current and future needs.
Agape House, based in Walworth, is a private, non-profit organization that uses Christian biblical principles to provide healing and hope to girls and women aged 12 to 28, along with their families.
Agape, (pronounced Ah-gah-pay) from the Greek word for unconditional love, aims to offset lives that have been hurt by abuse, neglect, addiction and violence. Several of the girls at the Give Them Hope 2014 Campaign fundraiser, held in Lake Geneva on November 7, related stories of horrific living conditions and situations that brought them to Agape House.
“It takes a lot of love to heal a heart and mend a life that’s been so badly hurt,” said Brian Ogne, who emceed the dinner at Geneva National Country Club. Major donors and corporations are expected to help the organization reach the half million dollar mark in one year.
Executive Director Pam Patterson founded Agape House 15 years ago with a heart for girls and young women from southeastern Wisconsin and northeastern Illinois.
“A great many people are in need of the services that Agape House programs provide,” said Patterson.
The programs include Agape School, Agape Home, the Transitional Living Home and Agape Counseling Centers. As many as 16 girls are able to live in a home-like setting, complete with loving full-time house parents who are experienced foster care providers.
The Agape Angels, as the girls are called, performed songs of joy for the fundraiser attendees and told stories of help and recovery.
“Our girls are amazing,” said Director of Counseling Liz King. “We see miraculous work every single day at Agape. This is the gospel; our God heals.”
Ninety-eight percent of students graduate with a high school diploma and many of them go on to pursue higher education.
Last year, in addition to the home and school programs for 16 girls, the Transitional Living Home assisted four young adult women in leading responsible, independent lives. Agape counseling services in Walworth and East Troy helped about 12 parents of Agape House residents, as well as 15 community clients.
Fees for the Agape House program (which includes the school tuition, onsite residence, and counseling services) are $1,600.00 per month, per person, compared to state education programs that cost between $7,000 and $10,000 per month per person.
Additionally, Agape House offers payment on a sliding fee scale to accommodate household income under their mission to never turn away a girl who is in need. In addition to the availability of payment plans, the program offered at Agape House is unlike any other in the state.
Donations from individuals, civic groups, churches, businesses and foundations make up about 80 percent of the operating budget. The rest comes from payment for services on a sliding-fee-scale based on family income. Thanks to monetary donations, Agape House provides financial support for tuition assistance. Low fees are part of an Agape promise to never turn away a child in need.
“It’s rewarding and truly exciting to see the high success rate we continue to have,” said Patterson. “More and more families are reaching out for services from all of our programs and it’s disappointing that we can’t meet all of the needs at the present time.”
Original Article – The Beacon & Good Humor – Nov. 22 Dec. 5, 2013