Helping Young People Find Purpose
REALTORS® Anita Sherley, CRS, GRI, and Jay Sherley, GRI, have been guiding at-risk adolescents and young adults for more than three decades since their home became a place of retreat for young people facing poverty and neglect. In 2008 they founded Life Houses Inc., a nonprofit that provides a safe living environment and fosters emotional, social and spiritual growth.
The Sherleys have mentored more than 200 young adults— many homeless, recently released from incarceration or too old for foster care—to live productive, goal-oriented lives. Through life coaching, Anita, Jay and other volunteers teach job skills, communication skills and relationship skills.
“We see these young adults become fantastic young men and women and find themselves,” Anita says. “There’s nothing better than to watch that metamorphosis.”
Josiah Jerome had lost his brother to alcohol poisoning and was struggling with substance abuse when he became the first resident of Life Houses. “I decided to clean up my life,” he says. He went on to marry a young woman who was among the first female residents of Life Houses, and the couple now have three children.
Jerome, who now works as finance director for a charter school, says, “Jay has this unique gift to help young men turn their lives around, step into their full potential and move out of circumstances resulting from poor decisions in young adulthood.”
The Sherleys’ careers have played a role in the success of Life Houses, Anita says. “Real estate puts us in a place to take the pulse of the community in a way that might not be possible in other professions.”