05/20/14 9:55am
05/20/2014 9:55 AM
(Credit: Paul Squire)

Seth Wassenaar is led into Riverhead Town court for his arraignment on a felony sex act charge Monday morning (Credit: Paul Squire)

A 17-year-old accused of committing a felony sex act against another male teen at the Timothy Hill Children’s Ranch was released on $2,500 bail after pleading not guilty at his arraignment in Riverhead Town court Monday.  (more…)

04/26/14 8:00am
04/26/2014 8:00 AM
The Timothy Hill Children's Ranch. (Credit: file photo)

The Timothy Hill Children’s Ranch. (Credit: file photo)

I write this column at the risk of sounding like a P.R. rep for Timothy Hill Children’s Ranch. But the organization is the only one of its kind in the area — probably even all of Long Island — and has expanded rapidly in the past 13 months. And its growth may say something about the future of how we handle our disadvantaged youth.  (more…)

08/20/13 5:00pm
08/20/2013 5:00 PM
COURTESY FILE PHOTO | Jerry and Fern Hill speaking to young women at the ranch named in honor of their son. The home will now house girls for the first time.

COURTESY FILE PHOTO | Jerry and Fern Hill speaking to young women at the ranch named in honor of their son. The ranch will now house girls for the first time.

More than 30 years after launching a program to house abused, neglected or otherwise troubled boys, Riverhead’s Timothy Hill Children’s Ranch opened its first home for girls Monday.

“From the very beginning we had hoped to have girls, but when we opened it was boys that we had and it didn’t seem like the right thing to do, to have the boys and girls on the same campus,” said Fern Hill, who founded the ranch with her husband, Jerry Hill, in 1980. “Through the years we’ve tried several different things and this one just kind of came to us.”

Located near Sound Avenue in Riverhead, the four-bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom home is part of Timothy Hill’s new “Refine” program, which provides independent-style housing for young women between the ages of 17 and 21, said Kris Mannale, the house’s caretaker. Mr. Mannale lives in the house with his wife, Hannah, who is also a caretaker, and their 2-year-old daughter.

Yesterday two young women, ages 18 and 20, moved into the house, which the organization currently refers to as the “Sound Avenue Home,” Mr. Mannale said. Another young woman is expected to move in sometime next week.

“There’s been a need for a girls’ home for a long time and there definitely is a need for it right now,” Ms. Hill said.

Built in 1925, the former private residence was purchased in June and is surrounded by trees that appear to hide it from view. The bedrooms are designed to be shared and can accommodate up to four girls, Mr. Mannale said.

Similar to Timothy Hill’s independent living program for boys, girls at the Sound Avenue House are required to get a job, either on-campus or off, and must meet certain schooling requirements, Mr. Mannale said. They are permitted to have a car.

“I don’t know of any other girls’ programs being run the same way,” Mr. Mannale said. “I think when you look at the other independent living programs we have, the success rate is pretty phenomenal. When they leave, they’re people of character and able to hold down a job. They’ve been given vocational training and résumé building. It’s not just housing.”

Mr. Mannale said the young women at the Sound Avenue House are adjusting well to their new home.

“They’re great,” he said. “We love having them.”

ryoung@timesreview.com

02/25/13 3:30pm
02/25/2013 3:30 PM
JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | A 24-hour support facility for homeless youths opened Monday in Riverhead.

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | From right, Timothy Hill Children’s Ranch executive director Thaddaeus Hill, Suffolk County Sheriff Vincent DeMarco and Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter on Monday during a ribbon cutting at the Right Path Home in Riverhead.

The area’s first 24-hour support facility to house young men who are former prison inmates has opened in Riverhead.

The Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department has partnered with Timothy Hill Children’s Ranch in Riverhead to create Right Path Home, a new program that provides housing for men ages 17-21 who are released from the Suffolk County Department of Corrections.

The six-month program aims to help former inmates transition back into society by providing support from caseworkers and career counselors.

Right Path Home, located on Old Farm Road in Riverhead across from Timothy Hill Children’s Ranch, is a 1,300-square foot house that will become a home to as many as four former inmates at once and a full-time caretaker.

Ranch administrators are in the process of finalizing a certificate of occupancy with the town.

Thaddaeus Hill, executive director of the Timothy Hill Children’s Ranch — which houses abused, neglected or otherwise troubled boys and young men — said the property was donated to the ranch in 1996 and had been used to house staff. It has been vacant for the past three years, he said.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE RANCH

Mr. Hill, along with Sheriff Vincent DeMarco and Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter, attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday and toured the house, which has been completely remodeled. New fixtures and tiling have been added to a bathroom and kitchen space, the kitchen has stainless steel appliances and the livingroom comes complete with new couches and a flatscreen TV.

Mr. DeMarco said Right Path Home is needed because many of the youths in jail are homeless or have dysfunction families. Some of them, he said, can’t go back to the community they came from because they run the risk of hanging out with “the same people they were with when they got arrested.”

“A lot of the youth in the jail don’t have a place to go to right away when they get out of jail,” Mr. DeMarco said. “This is a wonderful opportunity.”

Mr. Walter agreed and praised Mr. DeMarco and Mr. Hill’s efforts, adding he appreciates the ranch’s approach to helping youths.

“They do it with discipline, with love, with reward and it’s a wonderful program they run for the children,” Mr. Walter said. “I’m positive this will be an overwhelmingly success.”

The remolding project started last summer, with Riverhead Building Supply and B-Marascia Construction donating labor and supplies.

B-Marascia Construction owner Brett Marascia said he volunteered because he believes the program will help troubled youths.

“Everything that they need to start a new life is here,” said Mr. Marascia, who is also the ranch’s maintenance manager.

In addition to local businesses contributing to the cause, current prison inmates Grant Mcrelli, 40, and William Fray, 38, worked on the siding, roofing, sheet rocking, painting, paneling and other construction for the house.

“It seems like a great idea and a good way to keep kids out of trouble,” Mr. Mcrelli said. “It will keep them out of jail … I would be glad to help out again.”

Mr. Fray said he was happy to volunteer his carpentry experience to the cause.

“It’s a good way to spend my time,” he said. “[Right Path Home] is important because it provides an opportunity to become well-rounded through education, fitness and religion.”

jennifer@timesreview.com

05/16/12 11:12am
05/16/2012 11:12 AM

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Timothy Hill Children's Ranch executive director Thaddaeus “Thud” Hill spoke at Tuesday night's Riverhead school board hearing in March.

The proposed Timothy Hill Community Charter School was not selected for further evaluation in the State Education Department’s first round of charter school applications. But the school’s application will be resubmitted by June 25, in time for the department’s second round, said Thaddaeus “Thud” Hill, executive director of the nonprofit Timothy Hill Children’s Ranch on Middle Road in Riverhead.

The state is expected to announce which schools it will review from the second application round sometime in late summer or early fall, which will still give the Timothy Hill proposal a chance to meet its original goal of opening for the 2013-14 school year, Mr. Hill said.

In the meantime, Timothy Hill has withdrawn its original application in order to make some changes that were recommended by department of education staff, Mr. Hill said.

Timothy Hill is planning an all-boys grade 7-12 school in a Riverhead area location that’s yet to be determined, Mr. Hill said.

Initially, he said, they would probably seek to rent space, rather than build. Enrollment is expected to start at 55 students and increase to 210 by the school’s fifth year.

Timothy Hill Children’s Ranch was started 30 years ago on a 70-acre ranch. It is licensed by the state and houses boys who are troubled, abused or neglected or come from troubled families. The ranch was the brainchild of Timothy Hill, Thud’s brother, who died in a bicycle accident in 1972 at the age of 13, before he could see his dream fulfilled.

Charter schools are considered public schools, but receive their funding from the home district of each student they enroll, based on the per-pupil costs of the home district, as determined by the SED.

tgannon@timesreview.com

02/08/12 12:00pm
02/08/2012 12:00 PM

COURTESY PHOTO | Jerry and Fern Hill at the ranch named in honor of their son.

The Timothy Hill Children’s Ranch on Middle Road in Riverhead has filed an application with the state to open a charter school on its property. It would be called the Timothy Hill Community Charter School, and is proposed to have grades 7 through 12, according to the organization’s application.

The application anticipates an enrollment of just 55 students in its first expeted year of operation in the 2013-14 school year, with that number jumping to 210 in the 2018-19 school year.

“The mission of the Timothy Hill Community Charter School is to ensure that our students have the opportunity for further success in the college of thier choice and/or a viable career,” the application states. It reads that the proposed school would be a “no excuses” schools that will embrace rigorous academics, an intentional self-management focus, data-driven decision making, therapeutic and supportive school culture and “authentic, real world vocational integration.”

Timothy Hill Children’s Ranch was started 30 years ago on a 70-acre ranch. It is licensed by the state and houses boys who are troubled, abused or neglected or come from troubled families, it’s executive director, Thaddaeus “Thud” Hill said in 2010. Most of them stay at the ranch for about a year to 18 months, though some have stayed as long as six years, Mr. Hill said.

Thud Hill is the brother of Timothy Hill, who died in a bicycle accident in 1972 at the age of 13, before he could fulfil his dream of having a ranch where troubled youth could live.

tgannon@timesreview.com

07/12/11 6:28am
07/12/2011 6:28 AM

VERA CHINESE PHOTO | Nouvelle Lucas, Jerry Hill, John Birke, Fern Hill and Steven Alvarenga outside Miss Fern's Shoppe in the Baiting Hollow Commons.

For the past two years, a second-hand shop located at the Timothy Hill Children’s Ranch in Riverhead has brought in a sizable income to the home for abused and troubled boys.

Now with the grand opening of its second location, the organization’s founders, Jerry and Fern Hill, are hoping the Sound Avenue store will help further the mission originally started by their son Timothy, who was killed in a bicycle accident at 13 years old.

All proceeds from the store, known as Miss Fern’s Shoppe in honor of Ms. Hill, will benefit the ranch.

The current shop, located at the Middle Road ranch, brings in about $80,000 a year for the organization, Mr. Hill said. He said he doesn’t know exactly what to expect from the new storefront, located in the Baiting Hollow Commons just behind the Lobster Roll restaurant, but he is optimistic it will do well.

Mr. Hill noted the store at the ranch has virtually no overhead, as the inventory is donated and it is staffed by volunteers. Mr. Hill also said he was offered a “very good price” on rent for the Sound Avenue location by the landlord.

He added that he has no problem filling the shelves with donated picture frames, candle holders, China sets and even furniture.

“We’ve had a wonderful response from the community,” Mr. Hill said. “We sometimes have more items than we can get rid of.”

As for the shop’s namesake, Ms. Hill denied involvement.

“That was one of our volunteers,” she said. “They just wanted to do that.”

Miss Fern’s Shoppe will be open Monday and Wednesday through Saturday from 11 p.m. until 6 p.m.

Timothy Hill Ranch is licensed by the state and houses boys who are troubled, abused or neglected or come from troubled families.

vchinese@timesreview.com