Little Sand Group Home History
Gerome and Shirley Jahn opened the doors of Little Sand Group Home on the 4th of July 1976. Their vision for providing a home-like, nurturing environment for youth was realized when they started the small group home on the lakeshore property of Little Sand Lake in Remer, Minnesota. Gerome and Shirley possessed a deep compassion and enthusiasm for working with youth and created this home as a resource and in some cases a refuge, for girls ages 11-17 in need of out-of-town placement.
This successful houseparent model was duplicated in 1982 when House of David was established in Elk River, MN. That same year, Little Sand Group Home was provided an on-site alternative school setting staffed and run by District 118. This school is still thriving today, providing individualized, student-centered learning with the goal of creating a successful and positive school experience for all students.
In 1984, Little Sand moved House of David's location to Remer and renamed the group home Little Sand East, as it was situated in the east part of town along the Willow River. In addition, Little Sand purchased an adjoining property to the West home and that was named Little Sand Lakeside.
In 1986, Little Sand East was modified from a girls' group home to one for boys. The boys' home operated for approximately two years and then was converted back to a residence for girls. This decision was based on the awareness that the programming that Little Sand excelled at was geared better for female populations, versus co-ed, therefore a more focused, consolidated and gender specific plan came about in regard to the three homes.
Since 1976, Little Sand Group Homes has continually grown, changed, adapted and expanded in all areas of service. Still at the core of all of our programming and care for our residents is the nurturing, supportive family-living environment. We pride ourselves with providing a therapeutic experience in which children can feel safe and understood, appreciated and recognized for the individuals that they are.
The overall staff commitment to Little Sand over the many years is evidenced by the longevity of many of the staff with employees having been with the agency for 25 or more years. In addition, there are also significant number of employees who have been with Little Sand between 5-10 years. Staff retention, loyalty, commitment and unity all contribute to a team of individuals who are dedicated to helping transform lives for the better. Little Sand has been focused on accomplishing that goal for almost 40 years.