Through our participation in The Big Payback, we shed light on many of the boys' "I HAVE NEVERS". It was our goal to raise enough funds so that we could meet some of their "I HAVE NEVERS" this summer. Below you will find several that we highlighted.

I HAVE NEVER TASTED STEAK. Over a year ago, one of our fabulous volunteers brought his own charcoal grill to My Friend’s House, and fired it up. He then proceeded to grill beautiful strip steaks for the boys. The next day one resident shared that he had never tasted a real steak. He went on to say he ate five steaks that night! Who knew it was possible to eat five steaks in one sitting?  

This boy’s ‘NEVER HAD’ was met and surpassed in one night by a volunteer with a great heart and some fantastic grilling capabilities. This simple gesture meant so much to this young man, and he left MFH with a new and tasty experience.

I HAVE NEVER HAD NEW SHOES. Brand new, never been worn, pull-the-paper-out-of-the-toe shoes…never had this experience. Hard to believe, but some of our residents have never known this reality. Often our residents are given hand-me-downs or taken to the thrift store for footwear. But, once they are at My Friend’s House, they will receive a brand-new pair of shoes. Some of these young men are so taken by their new shoes that they will walk around flat-footed, so as to not put creases in their new prized possession.  

How ordinary this is for most of us, but to them…it is the world. They can go to their new school and feel like they are one of the crowd…and we strive to provide normalcy in the daily lives of our residents.

I HAVE NEVER BEEN TOLD “I’m proud of you.”   Participation in school events and activities is welcomed and encouraged here at My Friend’s House. After one such event our executive director was returning a resident back to the house when she mentioned how proud she was of this young man’s performance. His practice had paid off and he performed very well. He was surprised to hear this simple praise, asking repeatedly on the trip back to the house, “Are you still proud of me?” As if time and distance would diminish this effect on her.  

As she dropped him at MFH, the young man asked one last time, “On a scale of one to ten, how proud of me are you?”, and she replied, “I am eleven-proud of you.” In fact, it was her that had not fully understood what it meant to this young man for someone to be proud of him. 

I HAVE NEVER been to a pro sports game.   My Friend’s House has been fortunate to receive ticket donations for the boys to attend professional sporting events (i.e. Titans, Predators, Sounds). These are always a really big deal for these young men. While some have dreams of playing professional sports, almost none of them have had the opportunity to attend such events.  

It doesn’t happen often, but when it does the excitement in the house is palatable. These events are always the stand-out memories for our residents, and ones they remember for a lifetime. Your gift to #TheBigPayback may fulfill a group of boys ‘I HAVE NEVER’ been to a pro game.


I HAVE NEVER been on vacation.   Taking a trip or vacation with family is another ‘I HAVE NEVER’ for most boys that come to live at My Friend’s House. One afternoon the boys were talking about vacations, and a past resident once mentioned that he heard the beach was dangerous and the sand was full of broken glass.

Only one of the eight boys in that conversation had ever seen the ocean. Most have not taken any trips in their short lives. While going to the beach may not be a reality for us to coordinate and fund, we are planning a weekend at a cabin this summer. Hiking, swimming in the lake, roasting marshmallows over the campfire, and catching fireflies are all on the agenda. Your support today will make this vacation happen!

Our Community Partners