Center Circle Expects To Rehabilitate Troubled Children

The Center Circle motto is, "At the center of the circle of life is the child." And that child is what this rehabilitation camp expects to help. Center Circle Program Director Verlee Young said, "I truly believe that we'll be able to make a difference in the lives of children. And that's why I'm here."

The state certified rehabilitation camp is for younger age kids who have problems at home or in society. According to program director Ken France, "We intervene in the lives of these kids and we can prevent them from really entering really this vicious cycle."

Center Circle sits on 85 acres in north Harrison County. It has a lake for fishing, and plenty of land for agriculture work. Both activities will be regular parts of a child's development program.

Children assigned to Center Circle will live here for one to two years. Right now, Center Circle has five homes. Someday it may have more than 30. It's here where counselors will teach the troubled eight to 13 year old kids the right way to live. "We hope number one to change the life of the children that are here," France said, "to get them back on the right track."

Grand Casinos' Tom Brosig initially came up with the Center Circle concept. As he explained to his guests at this open house, the camp will emphasize accountability and responsibility, so that even troubled kids have a chance to succeed. "It's designed to build self esteem," Brosig said, "to take those kids and say all right, it's our job to get you to a point where you can be progressive members of society. But unless we do our job, these kids can never do their jobs. And that's what this is all about."

On any given day, thousands of children and teenagers on the coast deal with troubles children should never have to face. They come from troubled or abusive homes, or some have broken the law.

The numbers may surprise you. Last year in Harrison County alone, 5,251 youngsters of all ages were either delinquent, abused, neglected or in need of some kind of supervision in order to right something wrong in their lives. A total of 501 children were in the youth detention center.  Another 39 were committed to a state training school.