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July 22, 2014

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Joe’s Place to Start 2014-15 School Year with New House Parents

Joe’s Place is proud to welcome new house parents Jeremy and Rachel Mapp for the 2014-15 school year.  After an extensive search and selection process, the Mapps were chosen to succeed Dan and Alyssa Reeve who announced their leave earlier this year after serving seven years as house parents. Jeremy is currently a sixth grade teacher at Maplewood Richmond Heights (MRH) Elementary School and his wife, Rachel, is a program services assistant with Almost Home.

Jeremy and Rachel Mapp Joe’s Place offers homeless teenage boys in the MRH School District a supervised and caring home environment, supporting them in graduating from high school and creating positive futures for themselves. In July 2006, the home came together through the collaboration of the MRH School District and Crossroads Presbyterian Church and has now bridged into a larger community collaboration. The first residents were welcomed in January 2007.  In 2012 MRH and Joe’s Place were nationally recognized by the National School Boards Association as a “Grand Prize Magna Award” winner.  The Magna Awards recognize districts across the country for outstanding programs that advance student learning and encourage community involvement in schools.

“We are very excited and already feel so welcome by both the school district and community,” said Jeremy. “Rachel and I are so thankful to be given the opportunity to support these young men, provide them a warm and nurturing home, and help prepare them for a successful future.”

Jeremy joined MRH Elementary two years ago and quickly desired to do more within the community and with the students.  He received his bachelor’s degree in psychology and master’s degree in elementary education from Truman State University where he was also a residential hall director and an academic success team advisor in the Multicultural Affairs Center. Prior to coming to MRH, he was a fourth grade teacher in the Clayton School District at Captain Elementary School.

Rachel is a program services assistant with Almost Home, which inspires teen mothers to create a better life for themselves and their children. Previously, Rachel was an intake specialist for the International Institute of Metro St. Louis, where she worked with refugees to help them obtain employment by teaching them job skills and providing necessary educational programs in order to help them succeed. She has also worked at the Ronald McDonald House, the LABO International Exchange, and was a teaching assistant and youth ambassador. Rachel received her bachelor’s degree in communications from Truman State University and her master’s degree in strategic communication and organizational leadership from Maryville University.

“The Joe’s Place board and I are very happy to welcome Jeremy and Rachel into our family,” said Nelson Mitten, board president for Joe’s Place and vice president of the MRH Board of Education.  “They have already shown an immense love for our students and our community, and I know they share our passion for giving all of our students the support and nurturing they need to succeed academically.“

Residents of Joe’s Place check into the house on Sunday evening and out on Friday. Local churches and area restaurants help to provide evening dinners while house parents and students cook meals together on other days. For most of the program participants, Joe’s Place is the first stable domestic situation they have experienced. The residency and the house parents provide both physical and psychological safety and security. Living with classmates and sharing meals, chores, and common relationships with the house parents, they are in a setting that forms connections with peers that support and reinforce healthy behavior.

“Joe’s Place is a unique and amazing program that requires strong and dedicated leadership," said MRH Superintendent Karen I. Hall.  “We have found all of these traits in Jeremy and Rachel and I am looking forward to working closely with them as we continue to build Joe’s Place. Our community is thrilled to start this new and exciting chapter for our program.”

Learn more about Joe’s Place at www.joesplacestl.org.

For more information, contact MRH School District at (314) 644-4400.