The famous musician donated half a million dollars from his charity Janie’s Fund to help the centre open its doors.
With the $500,000 that Tyler, 70, donated, the Youth Villages organization was able to renovate a Memphis-area home for the cause. Youth Villages is a national foundation that assists children and helps them cope with mental, behavioural, and emotional problems.
“This does my heart and my soul good,” Steven Tyler told a local news station, WJHL. “This is real.”
The name ‘Janie’ might sound familiar to you if you’re an Aerosmith fan. The centre (and fund) get its name from Aerosmith’s 1989 hit ‘Janie’s Got A Gun,’ which is about a girl who turns to drugs after being abused by her father.
Tyler spent some time in a treatment centre and saw firsthand what types of effects abuse, both emotional and physical, can have on young people. This is what inspired him to open the centre
“As you can only imagine, being in a band with guys for 50 years, you can have problems,” the Grammy-award winning singer, who also provided artwork for the facility, explained. “And rather than quit, I decided to go to this treatment center for co-dependency.”
It was the women, in particular, that really opened Tyler’s eyes.
“While I was there, all the girls I met had been abused either physically, mentally or verbally, or at least 90 percent of them all,” he continued. “So when I got out of there, I laid it all on Janie. I said what are you going to do?”
Abuse and neglect at a young age can have lifelong, devastating consequences for its survivors, according to Child Welfare.
Sometimes the effects of abuse can range from low self-esteem and depression to feelings of isolation, inability to trust others, and difficulties with relationships. Another staggering statistic is the fact that one in four girls will be sexually abused before they reach the age of 18.
Janie’s Fund was created to help bring awareness to this issue and to help provide financial support to “ensure that girls receive the most effective services available to help them overcome the trauma and pain of abuse,” the foundation’s website says.
Janie’s House can house up to 14 girls at once, which is about 30 women a year.
The women that arrive at Janie’s House will receive therapy to help them process and recover from the abuse they’ve endured as well as coaching to help them move forward in the future with successful, healthy lives.
The house, located in Bartlett, a suburb of Memphis, is Steven Tyler’s second location that he’s opened since starting the fund back in 2015. The first location was opened in 2017 in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia.
“We wouldn’t be here at all if it wasn’t for Steven and his dream of Janie’s Fund,” Patrick Lawler, CEO of Youth Villages, said at the grand opening, according to KDVR.
A 14-year-old girl named JaBrayia said she’s so grateful to have found Janie’s House.
“The reason that I am at Janie’s House is because I experienced sexual abuse at the age of three,” she said when speaking at the opening. “Through Janie’s House, I can learn a lot about my past and learn I was not the only one that had been through the same problems.”
As far as Tyler? He has no plans on stopping his crusade to help abused and neglected women.
“I’m gonna bring this Janie’s Fund with me wherever I go,” he said. “It’s like a dream come true.”
Watch the emotional ‘scarf’ cutting during the grand opening in the video below.
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