One in seven children will run away before the age of 18. They run because they don’t know how to deal with family dynamics at home, or because they are experiencing an unsafe situation and feel there is no other escape. Once they are on their own, many don’t have anywhere to go, or they don’t know where to get help.
Since 1970, Huckleberry House has been a safe place and a source of support for these young people. We know this community, and the challenges they face, perhaps better than any other organization. And we work relentlessly to ensure all young people in our community have access to a safe home environment as well as the guidance they need to develop skills and find resources that can help them navigate and cope with the pressures of life.
We solve problems that seem unsolvable.
The teens and families we welcome into our programs are dealing with serious problems. Issues such as abuse, violence, addiction, and homelessness. In nearly every instance, the youth and families we serve genuinely want to find a way out of their current situation and get to a better place in life. But they simply don’t know where to start. Through our Crisis Shelter, family and individual counseling, community outreach, and independent living skills training, we help them take the first steps in a better direction.
We use what’s right to solve what’s wrong.
No matter how dire the circumstances may seem, we believe all young people and families have strengths. At Huck House, we make it our job to uncover those strengths. And we leverage them to help young people and their families improve their situations, one step at a time.
We meet young people where they are. We help them get where they want to be.
We do this by meeting teens and families wherever they are in life—both literally and figuratively. We’re not afraid to take on the toughest situations because we have tried and true methods for addressing them. And while we welcome young people and families into our Crisis Shelter, our programs, and our new YOP Shop, we often take our services directly to them—in their homes and schools, and even on the streets.
We connect the disconnected.
We create community connections that help pave the way to self-sufficiency for teens and families. And we work to establish a foundation of trust and support that can help young people find a way out of disruptive, negative, and unsafe situations, and take steps in a new and meaningful direction.
Ultimately, we help teens find their way home.
However and wherever we work with young people and families, our focus is on addressing problems and developing skills that support family reunification whenever possible. When that’s not an option, we help young people learn how to live successfully on their own. Because we believe that every young person deserves to be safe, as well as a chance to live a fulfilling life, we will continue to work to make sure all youth can find a way home.
Huck House Sleep Out Video
Inside Huck House from a teen’s perspective
2018 Agency Video
Hope and Support: Huck House Transitional Living Program
Our Huckleberry House
Speak Up Music Video
Thank you to our funders.
Meet our Board of Directors
Hixen Search Group
Direct Scripts, LLC
Columbus Hospitality Management
Beigel Ventures, LLC
Brainstorm Consulting Network
Franklin County Public Defender
Scott W. Schiff & Associates Co., L.P.A.
Meet the Huckleberry House Team
Sonya Thesing, Executive Director
Sonya first visited Huck House while serving on the board of the Junior League of Columbus in 2007. She is thrilled to have joined the Huck House team after years as a business owner and consultant. She has over a decade of non-profit development experience as a board member and development committee chair for several central Ohio organizations. Her favorite part of her work is connecting people with causes that matter to them. Sonya received her Bachelors of Arts degree in International Studies from Dickinson College and her Master of Business Administration degree from The George Washington University. Sonya and her husband of twenty years, David, and their two teenage sons Max and Garrett, enjoy time on soccer fields, golf courses, and beaches.
Lynda Leclerc, Associate Director
Lynda Leclerc serves as our Associate Director at Huckleberry House. Lynda brings to the role a wealth of knowledge and experience. She is a Licensed Independent Social Worker through the State of Ohio Counselor, Social Work, and Marriage and Family Therapy Board. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Social Work from Ohio University and then went on to receive a Master of Social Work from The Ohio State University before beginning her career working with families and children. Lynda began her service at Huckleberry House in 1994. Her belief in the mission and the inspiration of the youth keep her motivated and engaged each day.
Alex Murphy, Finance Director
Alex Murphy serves as the Finance Director for Huckleberry House. He began his tenure with the organization as Controller in 2014. Alex provides fiscal oversight along with database management, clinical reporting, and human resources management. Before coming to Huckleberry House he was the Medical Education Program Evaluator for the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine. There he analyzed efficacy, efficiency, and delivery of undergraduate, and graduate, medical education. Alex is passionate about the outdoors and connecting people with the natural world. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Zoology from Miami University in 2010, his Master of Science in Environmental Studies from Ohio University in 2012, and his Master of Business Administration from Patten University in 2018. Alex spends most of his time outside the office chasing his children, Maeve and Calvin, with his wife Kelsey, and dogs Piper and Fern.
Amanda Leclerc, Housing Direcor
Amanda Leclerc brings 20 years of social work experience to Huckleberry House in her role as Housing Director. She believes that every young person in our community deserves a place to call home and that they deserve to have adults in their lives that they can trust. Through collaboration, consistency, and dedication, she believes the young people she meets in our community will create the life they deserve to have. Amanda has a BSSW in Social Work from The Ohio State University with a minor in Criminology. She is also certified in Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM), and she spent eight years on the Community Crisis Response Team through Netcare.
Abbey Wollschleger, MSW, LISW-S, Programs and Clinical Director
Abbey Wollschleger is the Programs and Clinical Director. She began providing therapy to teens and families at Huckleberry House in 2009. Abbey’s experience includes working with youth, adults, and families who are facing multiple difficulties, including: relationship and life stressors, anxiety, depression, mood disorders, grief and loss, and trauma. Her treatment approaches are guided by the methods of Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness, Motivational Interviewing, and Solution Focused Therapy. Abbey’s primary goal as a therapist is to partner with and empower young people and families to be more effective in their approaches to relationships, communication, life stressors, and problem-solving. She is licensed by the State of Ohio Counselor, Social Worker, and Marriage and Family Therapy Board as an independent social worker with a supervisory designation. Abbey graduated from Baldwin-Wallace College with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, then went on to receive her Master of Social Work from The Ohio State University.
Kyra Crockett Hodge, Director of Community Outreach
Kyra Crockett Hodge began working at Huck House in 1998 and is currently director of community outreach and manager of the Youth Outreach Program. From years of hands-on, street-based experience, Kyra and her team have mastered engagement strategies and what it takes to empower young people with the desire to want more for themselves. “Every single young person I meet deserves a chance. If I or my team can help them on that journey, then that means we are doing what we need to do!” Kyra has a BA in Social and Behavioral Sciences from The Ohio State University. She is married with two sons, and they are her motivation to change the world.
Melanie Glenn-Gunther, Director of Safety and Engagement
Melanie Glenn-Gunther has been committed to working with youth and families at Huckleberry House since 2000. As the director of safety and engagement, Melanie works across all Huck House programs but with an emphasis on housing programs. She works to help youth address their safety needs and housing retention goals. Melanie normalizes the notion of conflict and sees it as an opportunity to gives young people the needed tools to regain control of their lives. “We have the opportunity to pour into them as much knowledge, support, guidance, and empowerment that we possibly can. That is very powerful.” Melanie received her BA in psychology from The Ohio State University. Melanie is married and raising two beautiful daughters.
Erica Schnitz, MSW, LISW-S, Counseling Services Manger
Erica Schnitz is a therapist providing home-based counseling services with Huckleberry House’s Counseling Services. She has worked as a community based therapist working with children, adolescents, and families since 2012. Erica’s passion and dedication to assisting young people and their families has brought her to Huck House, where she interned as a graduate student at OSU. She believes strongly in the mission of Huckleberry House and the agency’s work throughout the community. Erica uses a strength-based approach to help grow and strengthen families. She is a graduate of The Ohio State University, where she earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s in Social Work.