Nearly three decades after Aerosmith debuted the hit song “Janie’s Got a Gun,” Janie’s found a home in Douglasville.
The band’s front-man, Steven Tyler, opened his first-ever home for abused and battered girls, Janie’s House, Dec. 6 at the Youth Villages Inner Harbour Campus on Dorsett Shoals Road.
The home is also affiliated with Tyler’s charity, Janie’s Fund, which he started in 2015. He said that being in rehab in the 1980s really exposed him to the issue. Tyler wrote the song “Janie’s Got A Gun” in 1989 about a girl being abused by her father.
“While I was in (rehab), I found out most of (the) women in there were battered and beaten and abused verbally and sexually in huge numbers,” Tyler said in an interview with CNN. “It was like seven out of 10, eight out of 10.”
Youth Villages first partnered with the Inner Harbour campus in 2009. The campus is 1,200 acres and is one of Georgia’s largest psychiatric residential treatment programs for children and youth with serious emotional disturbances. The campus includes a lake, a sports field with a running track, hiking trails, canoeing activities, a ropes course, and playgrounds for recreational activities. After visiting Inner Harbour, Tyler knew Douglasville was the first city where he wanted to open a Janie’s House.
“He loves it because it’s so beautiful and it is,” Douglas County Juvenile Court Judge Peggy Walker said. “If you’ve never toured the Youth Villages campus, it is truly gorgeous.”
The impact of Tyler opening Janie’s House in Douglasville is monumental for similar programs in the county, including Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). CASA recruits volunteers in the county to advocate for the best interests of children, who have been abused and neglected, in courtrooms and our community.
“I personally think that Mr. Tyler’s efforts with Youth Villages are amazing,” CASA Director Katy Hilbert said. “I think that will be an excellent resource for our teen girls who have experienced sexual abuse. It’s wonderful to have that intensive resource here locally for that. A child that needs that type of assistance can get it and we don’t have to go far to get that type of help.”
The opening of Janie’s House doesn’t just help Douglas County, Walker said.
“For us, any additional resource is helpful,” Walker said. “This is an additional 16 beds available for youth in our state, but it’s not just for our state. This partnership with Youth Villages is to open up similar facilities across the nation.”
Aerosmith, which was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, has won four grammys. Tyler also released a memoir in 2011 and was a judge on “American Idol” from 2011-2012.
For those interested in becoming a CASA volunteer, the organization’s official website douglascountycasa.org shows multiple ways of how to get involved. To become one of Janie’s Angels, those interested can visit www.janiesfund.org and click on the “Janie’s Angels” tab. Anyone who signs up to become a Janie’s Angel and commits to donating at least $15 a month to the charity by Dec. 31 they will receive a pair of Janie’s Fund Espadrilles.