Patrick Henry Family Services

Patrick Henry Family Services is having an open house celebration this month at its new center in downtown Brookneal. (Photo by Don Richeson.)

BROOKNEAL — Excitement is building in downtown Brookneal for this month’s grand opening celebration of the Patrick Henry Family Services Brookneal Family Resource Center. Although the center has been in operation at its new home at 302 Rush St. since this past fall, it hasn’t yet had a formal dedication event — one featuring a ribbon cutting, refreshments and speech by PHFS’ Robert Day, its CEO. The community is invited to come check out the center and its staff by attending the celebration, which is set for 2-5 p.m. Thursday, March 19.

So what exactly is the mission of the 1,000 square foot nonprofit center? “To help vulnerable children and struggling families,” CEO Day told The Union Star. “We recognize by providing services in Brookneal, we are helping to make the Brookneal community stronger. We are grateful to be able to bring comprehensive counseling services to the Brookneal community, services that were not there.”

Day continued, “The Brookneal Family Resource Center, an expansion of PHFS Hope for Tomorrow Counseling, is not only providing outpatient counseling and therapy for children, teens, and families, but in the near future we hope to offer parent training, support groups, educational consultation and kinship services.”

In a sense, the center, housed in a gray cinderblock building with dark blue awnings, fills a void in the community created when Patrick Henry Boys and Girls Homes transitioned its services away from its 700-acre Brookneal-area campus near Red Hill. But its focus differs somewhat. “It was a most difficult decision and (one not made) with the intention to desert Brookneal,” Day said of PHBGH’s changing gears. “We transitioned away in order to increase our abilities to help vulnerable children and struggling families, as well as to focus on the prevention of the circumstances that cause children and families to live in destructive situations.  Through our PHBGH girls’ home in Rustburg and our boys’ home in Bedford, Expanded Families, Safe Families for Children, Homes of Hopes, Hat Creek Camps, and Hope for Tomorrow Counseling, we are now reaching many more children than previously served.”

The center is staffed by four people. About half the center’s clients are age 21 or younger, according to its Facebook page. They live in Brookneal and communities in the greater Brookneal area — Gladys, Long Island, Nathalie, Phenix, South Boston and Charlotte Court House. Client referrals come from schools and churches.

The center’s phone number is 434-376-2006.

(For the full story, be sure to pick up a copy of the March 4 print edition of The Union Star. It’s available Wednesday on newsstands throughout the greater Brookneal area.)