HISTORY

Our House is located on a140-acre farm in Montgomery County, Maryland.  Since opening its doors in 1993, over 382 youths have graduated, and most are living and working in their communities as independent and successful adults.  This 22-year-old program has expanded steadily from a seed grown by one man to its current award-winning program which has gained national attention.  

Our founder, Richard Bienvenue, has over 44 years’ experience as an educator and counselor. His devotion for teaching youth was so intense that he decided to resign his position as a special education teacher in the public school system, in order to concentrate on those vulnerable and most at-risk boys whom he feared were on their way to spending their lives behind bars.

The founder had one single idea that gave birth to the Our House program:  he needed to extricate these troubled youths from their toxic environment and afford them the opportunity to live, learn, and mature in a calm and supportive environment. He explained on the Oprah Show:

“I taught them construction in the daytime, but they went home at night, that was their downfall. After doing it for a couple of years, I realized that if you want to really teach these kids, then you have to do it in a residential setting—it’s imperative.”

TIMELINE

1993
Our House opens in Brookeville, Maryland, on the grounds of Camp Bennett - with eight trainees. They learn many skills on the job, as they renovate and repair the camp for the inner-city children of DC.
1994
Our House moves to the Taylor Manor Hospital complex in Ellicott City, Maryland, where they renovate, repair, and remodel several buildings. They are so successful that Our House is asked to partner with Howard County’s Office on Aging in a pilot program known as Aging in Place. The trainees volunteer to retrofit the houses of elderly and handicapped residents, allowing them to remain in their own homes. The program garners national recognition for both Howard County and Our House.
2002
After purchasing a 140-acre farm in Montgomery County, Our House moves to its current location, which allows the program to expand and receive a state licensure for 16 beds.

ON-THE-JOB TRAINING

During the past 13 years in Brookeville, Our House has increased its offerings pragmatically. Our trainees are engaged in state-of-the-art certified organic gardening, engine repair, and beekeeping, all various components of carpentry, computer skills, personal skills, and GED training, as well as weekly community service projects. While the landscape of Our House continually changes, the foundation remains the same: to offer the trainees an opportunity to learn, grow, and reach their full potential in a stable and safe environment.

Community Service Projects

Ged Training

Certified Organic Gardening

Personal Skills

Computer Skills

Carpentry

Beekeeping
Beekeeping

Engine Repair