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.”
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.