Community renovates elderly man's home

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- One of the houses on Woodbine Avenue belong to Mr. Forrest, an elderly man who's unable to care for his property on his own.

"He just is not the type of person to ask for help," said George Raudenbush.

Raudenbush met Forrest while helping a homeless man find a place to stay. He saw Forrest's post about a vacant room on Craigslist and decided to knock on the door. When he saw the home was barley livable, Raudenbush volunteered to fix it for free.

"He's very overwhelmed with it," said Raudenbush. "He's very appreciative of what's taken place," he added.

Sure enough, Mr. Forrest got a lot more than he bargained for. Lowes and Stokes Electric Company donated supplies to help renovate the home. Raudenbush even called on juvenile offenders for help .

"They're placed with volunteers who will actually take the time and get to know them and show them a better way of life," said Kendrick Tate, Probation Officer of the Knox County Juvenile Court.

The boys are able to help Mr. Forrest through the juvenile court's Restorative Justice program, an initiative that promotes community service for juvenile offenders. Tate said the boys are not only changing Mr. Forrest's life, but he's rebuilding their lives.

"It's teaching them how to be a man, take on responsibility," said Tate.

Most importantly, Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch said the Restorative Justice program is teaching juvenile offenders how to own their mistakes and pay it forward for people like Mr. Forrest.

"It has been amazing to see what these young people are being exposed to, and that exposure is what's going to make them better," said Chief Rausch.