ORLANDO, Fla. — ‘House of Timothy’ is led by an Orange County pastor that works hard to keep kids off the street.
>>> STREAM CHANNEL 9 EYEWITNESS NEWS LIVE <<<
Dr. Willie Montague grew up in a single-family home and watched his brother grow in the criminal system; watching that gave him tools to understand what is needed to stop the revolving door for young men in crime.
“I saw the need for young men to have father figures, mentors, and just development overall as far as their mental state emotional state,” he said.
Montague then created ‘House of Timothy,’ a home for young men who have become aggressive, have or are at risk of legal charges, or struggle with addictions.
“We actually have phone calls come from the boys themselves,” he said. “Saying that, I need, you know-- I need help.”
Photos: These dogs are free to adopt right now at Orange County Animal Services
The center has helped teenagers such as 15-year-old Samuel Strawcutter, who used to sell thousands of dollars worth of drugs.
“With my parents, I didn’t have a real, I didn’t have that structure-- really, I was kind of just roam free,” Strawcutter said.
22-year-old Brandon Hernandez also had a rough past getting his family home shot up by a rival group.
" I would just cause trouble around the neighborhood, bring trouble to my mother,” he said.
Read: NOAA forecasters release predictions for 2023 Atlantic hurricane season
Hernandez and Montague have a new way of living at the House of Timothy.
“Our goal is to get them restored in the families,” Montague said.
Some young men end up in the center through a court order, but most of Montague’s calls are from hopeless parents like Chantel Aquart.
“These things are life or death almost,” Aquart said.
She made the call for her 12-year-old son; she saw behavioral changes and wanted to stop it before she got the call no parent wants.
Read: ‘Guardian of Israel’ award given to Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood
The boys agreed it would’ve been a different story when asked what their lives would be like without the center.
“I’d be dead,” Strawcutter said.
“I’d be either dead, in jail, or locked up,” Hernandez said.
Read: Kennedy Space Center celebrates 40 years since 1st American woman explored space
Montague wants to save more lives and is creating a second home for kids as young as five because now the victims and suspects of crime are getting younger.
He has an 80% success rate of keeping his young men out of the system after the program.
‘House of Timothy’ is funded through donations and sponsorships for young men. For more information on the center, click here.
Click here to download the free WFTV news and weather apps, click here to download the WFTV Now app for your smart TV and click here to stream Channel 9 Eyewitness News live.
©2023 Cox Media Group