Josh Willms (‘14 BA Youth Work) recently became a parent – but not in the way you might expect. This past summer, he and his wife, Alisha, became the house parents at Cyrus House in Abbotsford. Cyrus House is a home
for youth who need a supportive living environment. The goal is for the young men in the house to experience a family-like setting and be equipped with valuable life skills to create lasting change in their lives. As house parents,
the Willms’ model and mentor the teens in daily life skills such as cooking, cleaning, budgeting and cooperative living.
Cyrus Centre, the organization behind the Cyrus House, is a not-for-profit organization that has helped hundreds of at-risk youth in the Abbotsford area. The creation of the house was an effort to extend the organization’s vision.
“Like its tenants, the house itself has been through quite the transformation” Josh explains, “When a local business was contemplating what they could use the house for, the consensus was to knock it down and build something
new. The house was rat infested, notorious for drug use and a general eyesore. However God had a plan to create a home for at-risk youth in Abbotsford. Through the work of countless volunteers, and around $250,000 in
donations, this ugly, dilapidated house was transformed into a lovely, comfortable home. God redeemed this house, just as he redeems and transforms us from something ugly into something beautiful.”
Anyone who has worked with youth knows the challenges that come along with it. Alisha commented on her time as a house parent thus far, “Living in the house has its good days and bad days; however, when these at-risk youth
open up to us, and we can show them what being a family looks like, it makes it all worth it. Through the power of Christ these young men are being transformed.”
“My time at Columbia Bible College taught me the importance of community
and living out my faith in my daily life,” Josh reflected. “Through the Youth Work program, Columbia gave me a solid biblical foundation and equipped me to have an understanding of how to interact with youth in a meaningful way.”
To learn more about the Cyrus Centre visit www.cyruscentre.com.
This piece originally appeared in the Columbia Contact Fall 2013. Sign up for the mailing list or view the most recent issue online.