HELENA — Helena couple Anita and Jay Sherley are finalists for National Association of Realtors Good Neighbor Awards for their non-profit work Life Houses Inc.
The Sherleys are the first Montanans to be finalists in the award's 24-year history. Both are in the real estate business and were nominated by someone in the community.
The couple told MTN they were unaware of the recognition until they received a phone call.
“We got the call that we were nominated and so here we are," Anita said.
The couple was nominated due to their work with Life Houses Inc., a non-profit founded by the Sherleys that provides housing and life coaching for young adults.
Life Houses was started in 2008 and can currently provide seven men and four women with a safe place to live in transitional times.
They have, so far, helped over 200 young adults ages 18-28.
“We didn’t come from an easy background and after we started having kiddos, we want to be able to impact that part of transitional time in a person’s life,” said Anita.
Most stay in the home for two years.
“The first year it’s really all about their growth, finding out what’s in them. By the second year someone coming in as well that they help mentor and it creates that leadership, that giving back. So, two years is a really good time frame,” Anita said.
“We’ve said, hey it’s time to move on and a couple of them said, well I’d like to stay and be a leader and mentor,” said Jay.
Frank Pope currently lives in the boys’ house and is in his second year. He has taken on more of a peer mentor role.
“I feel like a big brother to a lot of these guys. I want to be there I want to help these guys. Sometimes they need to know there’s something more than there was before they came into the house and it’s worth pushing for,” Pope said.
The Sherleys also have a vision for the future of Life Houses, with the hope of one day building a ranch.
“The reason for a ranch or something like that is so they, there’s a little more hands on, they can get their fingernails dirty and do some work and learn some of those skills to help prepare them,” said Jay.
You can vote until October 2 at realtor.com/goodneighbor.