YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – A program that helps Valley young adults received a big boost on Thursday. The financial help will give more adults the chance to turn their lives around.
“We teach them to hope again,” said Father Edward Brienz.
The St. Augustine Society received $50,000 from Mahoning County commissioners.
St. Augustine helps young adults with life skills through working at Cafe Augustine inside the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County’s Newport branch.
The program so far has helped over 350 people turn their lives around, people like Mac Haynes III.
“Yeah, a blessing. I never thought I would have a job without Father,” Haynes said.
The father that Haynes is referring to is Fr. Brienz, the founder of Cafe Augustine.
“They’ve had it beat out of them that a good life is only for other people, and our kids in the Valley deserve it. No matter who they were born, no matter what kind of place they were living. They deserve a decent future and they deserve to be able to hope and we try to get them to those dreams,” Fr. Brienz said.
One hope Fr. Brienz has had is to buy the transition home on Glenwood Avenue, which had been rented for four years.
The commissioners’ funding made that hope become a little more tangible.
“In the long run, it’s a win-win because we are no longer renting the property, we’ll be owning it. That will cut our operation costs,” Fr. Brienz said.
With the program looking to grow with property ownership one day, Haynes can’t stop but think about how he has grown thanks to Cafe Augustine.
“I learned better communication skills from Father and he helped get myself situated,” Haynes said.
The St. Augustine Society receives young adults for the program after recommendations from the courts, churches and even pastors.