He was a man with a dream.
“He could see it before any of us could see it,” said Alison McGregor, director of Adolescent and Family Services at the One-Eighty Teen Center. The it is a thriving adolescent-focused counseling center next door to the One-Eighty Teen Center. A ribbon cutting for the center will be held on Thursday.
The center was once just a broken-down house. Sharon Brown recalled the words of her husband Dan Brown while looking at the house, “We’ve got to have that place. We’ve got to get that house somehow.” Dan Brown looked at broken-down people with the same, compassionate eye he viewed the house.
“His passion was with the young people who needed to be loved and were finding their way,” Sharon Brown said.
Although Dan Brown had his own healthy counseling practice, he wanted to do more to reach teenagers. In August 2002, he began volunteering his time as a counselor at Liberty High School.
“Every single week, he’d come home so ecstatic,” Sharon Brown said.
He saw growth in the men and women at the high school, but it wasn’t enough. He always thought of creating a stand-alone place that directly focused on helping at-risk youth in Lodi.
The partnership with Alison and Jake McGregor was a natural fit. Dan had a heart for at-risk youth, and the couple ran One-Eighty Teen Center — a non-profit focused on helping at-risk youth make a one-eighty degree change toward positive choices. However, before the dream could become a reality, Dan Brown tragically passed away on a bike trip in July 2007.
Instead of giving up, Alison McGregor furthered Dan’s dream. She received her master’s degree in counseling, and expanded his at-risk program at Liberty to a district-wide, Why Try: 180 program. This is a therapeutic evidenced-based, gang-prevention, and decision-making course taught in 10 junior high and high schools throughout Lodi and Stockton. There are four therapists executing this program to over 150 students each year. And the broken-down house next door? It is appropriately named “The Dan Brown House,” and falls under the greater One-Eighty Youth Programs. Professional therapists work to provide healing and hope to over 40 youth and families per year in this building. Both Alison and Sharon are certain he would be proud.
“He would be jumping up and down,” Sharon said. “I can just picture it. I’m sure he’s in heaven right now talking about it. ‘See honey?’ he would say. ‘I knew it would happen, somehow, someway.’”
The community is invited to attend the ribbon cutting Thursday from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the Dan Brown House, 17 West Lockeford St. Those who wish to attend are encouraged to reserve a space at www.180lodi.org.
Contact Pam Bauserman at 209-369-7035 or firstname.lastname@example.org