Safe Harbor dedicated its runaway and homeless youth emergency shelter at 2215 Gloucester St. Thursday to the son of a Glynn County resident who helped make major renovations to the 100-year-old house possible.
Zachary Rose passed away in 2007, and his mother, Gail Rose, along with Dr. Irwin Berman, contributed the majority of the money needed to renovate Safe Harbor’s original shelter. Safe Harbor dubbed the house Zach’s Place in Zachary’s memory.
Berman couldn’t make it to the ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday, but Gail Rose stood alongside other members of the organization’s leadership.
Safe Harbor Executive Director Leslie Hartman, Capital Campaign Chairman Jack Hartman, Community Development Director Cindy Landis and Temple Beth Tefilloh Rabbi Rachael Bregman spoke during the dedication.
Bregman said she talked with Berman before the ceremony, and that he was happy to see the shelter opening.
“He has been inspired to help make this place happen by Gail’s strength. She’s so tough, he told me. It is that strength, that bravery, that courage which is honored in Zach’s Place. All the staff working here and all the children served here have that in common,” Bregman said.
Bregman also marked the occasion with a Jewish tradition, giving the Safe Harbor staff a totem called a mezuzah. A Jewish prayer is written on a piece of paper within the totem, which is hung above the doorway.
With the $195,000 contribution from Rose and Berman, Leslie Hartman said they restored the house’s original wood floors and windows, knocked out some walls and generally spruced the place up.
“If you didn’t see the house previously, you wouldn’t believe it today,” said Jack Hartman.
Among other structural issues, the floors in the living room on the first floor were beginning to sag and some walls needed work.
“It definitely needed some work, being a 100-year-old house,” Leslie Hartman said.
Zach’s Place is a short term emergency shelter for runaway and homeless children. Leslie Hartman said stays are generally limited to less that 30 days, during which the organization works to resolve whatever issues are keeping the children from having a stable home.
Safe Harbor also operates its Children’s Center for extended stays at the corner of Gloucester and Norwich streets and a transitional home for girls aged 16-22 behind Zach’s Place.
The organization was able to assist 536 children in 2017 and hopes to continue fighting an often-overlooked issue in the community, Hartman said.