SAN ANTONIO – Children at Roy Maas Youth Alternatives celebrated Thanksgiving and also had something else that made the occasion even more special.
The RMYA shelter provides services to abused and neglected children in our community.
Thanks to more funding, RMYA was able to open a new emergency shelter to better fit their needs.
“I'm just grateful for everything that I have,” said Destiny, a resident at the shelter.
Destiny is a RMYA resident. She’s staying at its new emergency shelter, known as The Bridge.
“I came really far from 6 years ago, and The Bridge changed my life,” added Destiny.
The new shelter opened earlier this year.
“The whole point of building a new emergency shelter was to give kids who are otherwise homeless and abused and (that) have run away. (It’s) place that feels more like a home,” said Bill Wilkinson, CEO of RMYA.
“In the old facility the kids were kept safe but it was an older facility, and these kids deserve modern things,” added Wilkinson.
The new building is also providing more space for counseling and therapy. Every Thanksgiving, children at the shelter celebrate it with Nieves Hernandez.
He prepares the food for the children. “We cook everything from turkey and ham the yams, mashed potatoes, all the good things that come with Thanksgiving dinner,” said Hernandez.
Hernandez is also a former resident himself. “This is my way of giving back,” added Hernandez.
“Part of them knowing that they are not being sucked back into their old life and their future includes things like warm meals and safe places to be,” explained Wilkinson.
For many it’s a new start and a place they get to call home. “I feel cared about, I feel loved,” added Destiny.