In June, Jesse and Jamie Erhart were called to leave their lives and careers in Fort Worth and relocate to Olney to help provide a place for all of Olney's youth to congregate and call home. That place, The Refuge, is open to teens at 811 W. Main.
“It felt like God was leading us here,” Jesse said. “The goal is to improve the lives of teenagers. We felt like we could be effective in the roll we are fulfilling here.”
Long before the Erharts, including their 9-year-old daughter, Lucy, were contacted about relocating to Olney, the wheels of change began moving to make The Refuge a possibility. According to Jesse, the group was originally founded by some local people who had an interest in helping teens better themselves through forming a relationship with the Lord.
“Joe and Shay Rollans were the spark that lit the fire,” he said.
They started a small youth group that actually has been using the home on Main Street for its gatherings for quite some time. Another local resident, Justin Piegat, then got involved, as did some other, unnamed individuals with financial resources to help the entire program really come together.
From there, the group reached out to find a Christ-centered couple who could facilitate the teen center and the Erharts answered the call. They moved to Olney from Fort Worth in June.
“I taught high school English at a private Christian school in Crowley and coached six-man football for the past four years,” Jesse said. “We've also done five years of traditional youth ministry in a church, and five years of being house parents to at-risk teens.”
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