Since they went to all that trouble to invite me to be honorary chairperson of the Kids Helping Kids Fun Walk, I thought it would be a nice idea to take a tour of the place that the walk supports. I knew about Columbus Home but never had the opportunity to visit until Wednesday during the “Creating Hope Tour.” The tour provided an opportunity for anyone interested to see their facilities.
We started at Samaritan Place, which provides housing and respite care for elders. I noticed on the bulletin board that the residents would be watching “Three Amigos” that day because it was Cinco de Mayo. Outdoors, some of the residents have been preparing a garden for planting. A mural on the back fence depicts a few of the favorite pets that belonged to residents during earlier stages in their lives.
We loaded into several vehicles for the ride to two other buildings. Fr. Ragan Schriver drove five of us in a minivan and made a point of remaining under the speed limit. He didn’t want to give me any material for a future comedy routine. When the caravan arrived at the next stop, Fr. Ragan addressed the tour group in the parking lot.
I was interested in seeing Columbus Home, which is located next to juvenile court. The basement of the building is the site of the Pregnancy Help Center. The upper level houses both Columbus Home and the Children’s Emergency Shelter. The current residents were at school while we looked around. It was similar to a college dorm. The word I kept hearing from the staff was “structure.” Columbus Home provides structure for the boys who live there while in state’s custody.
They estimate that 95% of the people helped by Catholic Charities of East Tennessee are not Catholic. Recipients of aid are not asked to identify their religious beliefs.