Helping Troubled Kids
When Eagle Village Founders, Kermit and Jean Hainley, first decided to help troubled kids they knew they had to do some things differently.
Kermit had spent time working in a juvenile hall detention center in California and watched first hand as the system failed boys that were desperate for things as simple as family.
Kermit and Jean started Eagle Village in Hersey, MI in 1968 with one residential unit. Shortly after they were tasked by a judge to come up with something for troubled kids on the streets to do in the summer. This turn of events led to summer camps and foster care, but Kermit never forgot his time in California where he learned that even the most hardened teen heading to prison just wanted a family and a safe home. Knowing this, Kermit and Jean were dedicated to keeping the families of the boys of Eagle Village involved in the treatment process, even opening up their own home to them.
Family Involvement Matters
“Other programs had a tendency to feel to keep the family out of it because they were the problem. We did not feel that way,” says Kermit. “We felt if we were going to be successful, we had to incorporate the total system that that child’s involved in and work through those crisis and those things that brought them to us in the first place.”
Now, 50 years after Eagle Village began, the idea of family involvement is as important as ever.
Eagle Village hosts Family Challenge Weekends every month for any family that would like to change the atmosphere and attitudes in their home. These events run Friday-Sunday and include activities geared around themes like appropriate roles in a family, anger management, and healthy communication.
For kids in the on-campus residential programs, Eagle Village hosts their families for Legacy Weekends. Families of any size are transported to and from Eagle Village, given a place to stay, and meals to eat at no charge. Removing the financial burden allows these families to participate in a monthly weekend of quality therapy and facilitated activities that move the entire family until toward health and wholeness.
Watch this video to hear Kermit and Jean describe the beginning of Eagle Village in their own words.