In 1972 a young mother and regular education teacher of home economics was confronted with a personal and professional dilemma. Carol Fuller Powell, founder and now retired Executive Director of Charis Youth Center, realized that the educational system was unable or unwilling to provide adequate services to her son with special needs. By 1978 her frustration turned to passion and a determination to do something about it. She began to provide school services for boys in a room donated by a church in Hayward, CA. Other mothers, similarly frustrated, frightened and in need of help brought their children to her, paying only what they could afford. As more youth were enrolled in this growing private school it eventually occupied an entire floor of the church.
In 1983 Charis was incorporated, changed from a private school to a licensed non-public school, and began to expand into residential services, opening the first residential treatment facility in 1988. Charis continued to grow while in the Bay Area. In 1998 Charis relocated from the Bay Area and settled into our current facilities in Nevada County. In keeping with the Continuum of Care Reform legislation in California, Charis has now transitioned to a Short Term Residential Treatment Program in 2019.
Charis Youth Center treatment programs were developed to serve youth and families challenged by emotional, economic, and systemic problems that could not be effectively served in other settings. Guided by the premise that youth and families have been neglected, confused, abused, and distraught, Charis provides nurturance, guidance, structure, and positive reinforcement toward empowering and enabling our clients to develop, grow, and reintegrate. Within this framework it is possible to change or modify behaviors that have inhibited development.
Beyond the passion and determination that began the mission of this work, included in Charis’ design were programs well established, research-based, and empirically proven to maximize potential for a successful children’s program with positive outcomes.