Abbott House celebrates 80th anniversary

RAPID CITY, S.D. — The Abbott House celebrated its 80th anniversary with a groundbreaking and special guest speaker on Friday.

The agency broke ground on its third therapeutic foster house in Rapid City. The new home will provide a family for girls from age 7 to 17 who have suffered trauma and abuse, and there will also be independent living apartments for young adults.

Executive Director Eric Klooz says that the house offers a calming break from an otherwise stressful situation. “We have all kinds of situations with the kids that come to us. Some will come for an overnight visit because they just need a respite away form another situation,” Klooz says. “Some will come for a few months, and we’ll have kids that come to us at age 15 and will graduate out of one of our homes.”

After the house is completed — hopefully early next year — the Abbott House will start on a fourth house.

After the groundbreaking, the Abbott House’s 80th anniversary commemoration brought a special guest speaker who knows how important a safe environment can be for young girls in trouble.

Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped from her home in Utah when she was 14. The married couple that took her held her captive for nine months until police rescued her on a street. Smart is now 31 and a mother of three, and works to spread a message of understanding and hope.

“So often things happen in life and it’s not fair. It’s not consequences of our own actions, a lot of times it’s actually consequences of other people’s actions that bad things happen but I want them to know that life is worth living and that no matter how bad, whatever they’re going through, or have been through, that they can still go on to live their life and that what’s happened to them does not have to define who they are… because things happen to all of us. I’ve never met anyone who’s gone through life unscathed. We all have trials, we all have struggles.”

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