Local center serving homeless and runaway youth for 40 years

GRAYSON COUNTY, Tex. (KXII) - The North Texas Youth Connection has been serving homeless and runaway kids without a place to go for around 40 years Thursday.

In 1976, Judge Rayburn Nall of the 59th District Court said he saw a need for lost youth in Grayson County.

"There was a group of people in 1976 that saw a need," Nall said. "There was one particular young man that came to the attention of a middle school counselor. He didn’t have a place to go. He was about 16 years old, his mother didn’t want him at home."

So he and a group of volunteers founded the North Texas Youth Connection in a little house on Cherry Street.

"We had no expertise at all," he said. "We knew what we wanted to do but we didn't know how to do it."

He said it wasn't easy, but looking at the center 40 years later, he couldn't believe how it's transformed.

"You can look around at this place and how it's grown in the past," Nall said. "What's interesting is the community comes together, they see a need and can get it done."

Director Sharon Watson said there's been quite a few setbacks along the way.

"We had loss of federal funding and a building here that needed a lot of work," Watson said. "Thanks to the community we've been remodeled, we've lightened it up and the kids just love it."

The center has had several donations throughout the years to keep them going.

Kids are given a bed and meals, and they earn points each week to use for items in a special room full of donated goods. They can stay up to 90 days while they're found a more stable home.

"It's been the most enlightening experience ever in my life," said Kathy Brewer, the facilities and logistics director. "The kids are just amazing and they need people here for them. So we're here."

Check out the link for details on how to help.

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