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November 21, 2013

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Joe’s Place to Begin New Chapter

Dan and Alyssa Reeve, house parents of the nationally acclaimed organization, Joe’s Place, have announced they will be stepping down as the Joe’s Place house parents at the end of the current school year. The Reeves are the original house parents and have been with Joe’s Place for the past seven years.

Joe’s Place offers homeless teenage boys in the Maplewood Richmond Heights School District a supervised, caring home environment, supporting them in graduating from high school and creating positive futures for themselves.  The home came together initially through the collaboration of the MRH School District and Crossroads Presbyterian Church and has bridged into a larger community collaboration. In July 2006 a nonprofit was formed and one month later, the school district purchased the home, just a short distance from the high school. The first residents were welcomed in January 2007.

The home provides a warm place to sleep, regular meals, and house parents providing guidance and affection. Students check into the house on Sunday evening and out on Friday. Local churches, individuals, and area restaurants have helped to provide meals during the week, and other days, house parents and students cook and share meals together. The program committee works alongside the house parents to mentor and academically support the residents. The boys also meet with counselors as part of the program.

“Dan and Alyssa have been amazing and inspiring role models for countless teenage boys. Nurturing, mentoring, and loving these extended members of their own family has been their life’s work for the past seven years,” said MRH Superintendent and Joe’s Place Board Member Karen I. Hall. “While we are all very sad to see them leave, we know they will both continue to be very involved with Joe’s Place, MRH and our community.”

Dan Reeve joined the MRH Middle School in 2006 as a reading specialist and in July of this year was appointed to assistant principal.  Prior to coming to MRH, he was a communication arts teacher for the St. Louis Public Schools.

The Reeves attribute their successful years as house parents to the MRH community. “The entire Joe’s Place community were remarkably supportive throughout the entire process and they helped make our journey sustainable for both Alyssa, myself, and the boys,” said Dan Reeves. “The work, encouragement, and dedication that went into Joe’s Place from the community made it the amazing program that it is today.”  

The program has been very successful and serves as a model to other communities. Every Joe’s Place resident, with the exception of one, has graduated from high school and gone on to post secondary education, the armed forces, or full-time employment. In 2007, Joe’s Place was honored with the “Outstanding Local Government Achievement Award” from the East-West Gateway Council of Governments, and in 2012 the “Magna Grand Prize” by the American School Board Journal and National School Boards Association. 

“On behalf of the entire Joe’s Place board and our community, I want thank Dan and Alyssa for the tremendous work they’ve done to shape and build the program, and the unwavering dedication they’ve shown to our kids,” said Nelson Mitten, Joe’s Place board president and MRH board of education treasurer. “Although their shoes will be hard to fill, the board of directors and I are committed to the continued growth and success of Joe’s Place in this next chapter.”

Dan and Alyssa Reeve’s last official day will be July 1, 2014. The Joe’s Place board of directors will undertake a comprehensive search for new house parents.

For more information, contact MRH School District at (314) 644-4400.