Huckleberry House lights up for teens in difficult situations this holiday season

Huckleberry House (WBNS)

COLUMBUS, Ohio - “Just an opportunity to enjoy life and create memories,” said Melanie Gunther, Program Manager for Huckleberry House.

For kids ages 12 to 17 who are going through crisis, the holidays can be a painful reminder of what they don't have. The Huckleberry House, on Hamlet Street in Columbus, offers a place for teens in crisis to stay and get counseling and placed into programs to help them.

“For the young people who aren't able to be at home with their family, it really can be a reminder of why they aren't at home,” said Abbey Wollschleger, Programs and Clinical director at Huckleberry House.

The Huckleberry House was helping about a half dozen kids each night. Now they say that number has skyrocketed to more than one dozen.

Huckleberry House, along with help from AEP Ohio, decorated the shelter and made it feel like a home during the holidays.

“Just a smile on that young person's face,” Gunther said.

“Part of the holidays is what they see on television and movies is families coming together and decorating and spending time doing fun holiday traditions. We try to recreate that here,” Wollschleger said.

With hot chocolate, warm carols and bright lights, they hope to spread a little cheer to those kids who are suffering in tough times.

“Just some of the normal joy that is a part of the holiday season is really cool,” Wollschleger said.