In 1993, Susan Parr started Brandons House as a way to give back to the community by helping our youth. After receiving a masters degree in counseling from Indiana University Southeast, Parr worked alongside several youngsters who indeed needed an extra hand. She counseled a 15-year-old boy who witnessed his father murder his mother, but the state would only allow a small amount of funding. He was a young man full of hope, and full of promise. For him, and others, the need for a consistent counselor was obvious, and the need for affordable, and free counseling was imminent.
“There needed to be a place where kids could get help,” said Parr.
Something that seemed like a challenging endeavor, was a reality for Parr, who did what anyone in such a situation would do, she encouraged her church, DePauw Memorial United Methodist Church.
“The idea of keeping a business that never charges anything didn’t make sense,” said Parr.
However, the church created the free counseling center for teens from all counties in Southern Indiana and the Louisville area.
Thanks to hardworking volunteers who refinished the house near the church, teens have a place for help with special adolescent needs. All of the counselors are qualified with at least a Master’s degree in counseling or a related field.
“We have proven that we can do what we say we can do, and that our priority is to give away professional counseling, and receive community support. We are still here after eighteen years,” said Parr.
Success is key, and according to Parr, all of the staff have a positive story to share.
“They get involved with these kids, and they will talk to the parents and make a difference. If they are willing to work at it, we’ll help,” said Parr.
Since Brandons House opened, more than 3,000 families have been helped, which has equaled almost $2,000,000 in free services for youth. Last year, the Brandon House helped 185 families, and Parr added that Brandons House works with 30-40 families each week. Such a resource is indeed unique for Indiana.
“Clients came slowly at first, but as word got out, not only that free counseling was available but also that there was a place that dealt with the special needs of adolescents, the numbers of teens and families coming for help grew,” said Parr.
The services wouldn’t be possible if it were not for the efforts made by fundraising and the generous donations given by the community.
This Sunday, Brandons House will hold its annual walkathon at Depew Methodist Church, with a goal of raising $20,000. This is the organization’s largest annual fundraiser of 18 years.
Wanda Parr has raised the most money for the Brandon's House Walkathon for 14 years in a row!
A group of walkers from Culbertson Baptist Church supported last year's Walkathon for Brandon's House.
There will be more events this year, including the annual cookout on August 8, golf scramble on September 9, and Christmas Basement Sale on December 1.
For more information visit brandonshouse.in.com or call 812.949.2499. There is also a location in Corydon Boys and Girls Club.