Teen Angel program comes to aid students displaced after house fire

Teen Angel program comes to aid students displaced after house fire
Trevor Strawderman, Principal, North Myrtle Beach High School.
Trevor Strawderman, Principal, North Myrtle Beach High School.
Renee Hembree, Founder of Teen Angel.
Renee Hembree, Founder of Teen Angel.

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC  (WMBF) - A family displaced when their home caught fire early Monday morning is getting some help from the community.

A local high school program and the community is coming to their aid.

North Myrtle Beach High School is where most of the family's children attend. "As soon as we got word about the house fire, and their loss, we had five students that were instantly homeless and two adults. Teen Angel contacted them right away, we met with the mother, and got them resources financial and they had supplies," said, Trevor Strawderman, Principal of North Myrtle Beach High School.

The Teen Angel Program has been part of the high school for seven years, it was found by Renee Hembree, after she learned there were homeless children at the high school.

"I was shocked to hear that there were homeless students attending the school where my children had attended and I was stirred to do something about it for Christmas," said Hembree.

What started as a Christmas shopping trip has turned into a year-round support system for homeless children and financially struggling youth at the school.

"The thought of one teenager not knowing where they are going to sleep much less an entire family not knowing where they are going to be sleeping at night and then having to attend high school or any school the next day is a burden too much to carry," explained Hembree.

The organization reached out to help the family that lost everything in the fire. It is just a small part of what the non-profit organization does on a daily basis.

Teen Angel provides more than 40 services to the students of North Myrtle Beach High School. Strawderman says they help students with senior fees, yearbook purchases, helping them afford prom by buying tickets or donating a dress or suit.

Strawdernan said, "They make the high school experience enjoyable."

The mission of the organization is to provide a happy traditional high school experience to homeless, and otherwise struggling high school students, by using community resources.

"We've had about 40 kids graduate high school who have been in the Teen Angel Program since the inception of this program.  I can factually say none of them would not have graduated without this program," explained the principal.

Teen Angel helps buy groceries for families, provide basic necessities, things Strawderman said many teens take for granted. "We go all the way to doctor's bills, dentist bills, heating and air issues, electrical issues, and we've provided housing," added Strawderman.

Hembree says the community has also stepped up to help the organization. She says her organization was able to help the displaced teens because of the donations from others, like the North Myrtle Beach Women's Club.

The Buck family that lost their home and belongings on Monday says they are grateful for the Teen Angel program and North Myrtle Beach High School.

"I think the beautiful thing about Teen Angel and tragedy that might happen to one of ours is the way our students have come together,"  Hembree said. "They've had bake sales, they are taking up supplies, teachers are coming together, anything to help a family."

If you would like to see more about the Teen Angel program, click here.

If you would like to help give a donation the Buck Family you can contact the Teen Angel program or North Myrtle Beach High School.

Teen Angel relies on donations, if you would like to help the organization here is a list of items needed:

  • Gifts cards (VISA, Walmart, Food Lion, Belk, etc.) 
  • New Socks (men and women)
  • New underwear (men and women)
  • New jackets/  sweatshirts and sweatpants (men and women)
  • Shampoo/Conditioner
  • Gently Used Prom Dresses 
  • Gently Used Men's Formal Wear
  • Backpacks
  • Feminine products
  • Soap/Body wash
  • Deodorant (men and women)
  • Axe Body Spray for men
  • Nominal donations

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