#minorsextrafficking | ‘Harbor at the Lake’ program providing temporary safe housing for kids in at-risk situations

(Photo: Matthew Huddleston / WWAY)

LAKE WACCAMAW, NC (WWAY) — The Boys and Girls Home in Lake Waccamaw is changing lives around the community one child at a time. A newly-renovated facility is providing temporary safe housing to children in dangerous situations.

“These kids don’t choose to be here, and they haven’t done anything,” chief program officer Donna Yalch said. “It’s what’s happened around them.”

The ‘Harbor at the Lake’ program has only been around for 6 months, but has already provided better situations to dozens of children who were in need of a temporary place to live.

“Some of these kids may be going through sex-trafficking, abuse, different situations at the home,” program director Jason Glover said. “Getting them to a safe haven is our mission.”

The program serves children 10 to 18 years old, housing up to 10 at a time.

Yalch says while the living situation is only for a short time, they see major changes in the lives of everyone who passes through.

“Even if they’re here for a week, something that they’ve learned will go with them when they’re older, and they have a family, or they’re out on their own,” Yalch said. “It’ll come back to them.”

Jason Glover says they try to keep a sense of normalcy at the facility, providing education to the children who may have fallen behind due to their past circumstances.

“We had a lot of success stories with kids who came into our care who pretty much dropped out of school in eighth grade but was the age of a tenth grader,” Glover said. “We were able to work and catch them up to the grade they were in.”

Yalch and Glover say their goal is to get the kids to a safe permanent living situation as quickly as possible, but both agree it’s hard to let them go.

“We’re so happy that they’re leaving and they’re going to a family,” Yalch said. “But oh my goodness, we’re sad. You try not to cry in front of them, but sometimes you know. They just touch your heart.”

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