The Dobey Center: Changing Lives for Homeless Youth

Heart of Texas YHDP logo laid over a photo of a Little Guys moving truck.

Over 27,000 Texans are homeless. Thankfully, there are organizations out there like the Dobey Center that are helping people find shelter and build a better life.

The Dobey Drop-in Center in Waco is a part of Heart of Texas Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program. They accept individuals under the age of 21 who have become homeless or spent the majority of their lives homeless. The Center offers support and resources for these youth, beginning with educational classes and programs geared towards getting them ready to work a steady, full-time job. They also provide housing for these individuals, which is where we come in.

Little Guys Movers helps these youth move into their new homes. The Dobey Center owns storage units with beds, couches, desks, tables, and other household items. All of this furniture is donated by other businesses around Waco, including Little Guys Movers.

We recently helped six individuals move into their very first apartments. Although the coordinator is present, the youth are our customers — they fill out all the paperwork and provide signatures so they can truly feel that they are taking their first step towards having a normal life.

For Waco Branch Manager Jesse C. Barnhart, this work has special meaning. “I spent the early part of my teens bouncing between family members’ houses because my parents had lost the house we lived in,” says Jesse. “I wasn’t homeless, but for a 13-year old it felt like it at the time. I know what it is like to have nothing and feel helpless about it because of your age.”

The Dobey Center gives these young people the resources to find work, have a home, and change their lives. It’s incredible to be part of the work the Center is doing. We get to see the joy on the young adults’ faces when we ask them where they would like their furniture to go — for the first time in their lives they own something, and you can feel how much it means to them.

“No child or teen should have to suffer for food or shelter,” says Jesse, “and now that I have the platform and support to make an impact, we will do everything in our power to help these young people.”