MILWAUKEE — Emotions took over the moment Nick and Brad Schlaikowski stepped foot into the newly furnished Courage House on Milwaukee's south side.
The house was purchased a year ago by the Schlaikowski's and their non-profit Courage MKE to create Wisconsin's first group home and shelter dedicated to homeless LGBTQ teens.
"Parents are kicking them out of their homes just because they're trying to be their authentic self, and so here we are to bring them to a place
where they can be themselves," said Nick, co-founder of Courage MKE.
Nick and Brad gave Kohls the green light to design and decorate the home themselves, giving way to an overwhelming surprise reveal Tuesday.
"Every little nook and cranny is filled with some sort of enormous hug for these kids," said Brad, co-founder and executive director of Courage MKE.
From top to bottom, Courage House was covered with thoughtful items. It included custom art highlighting the group's mission and making the house feel like a home.
Lowe's, Sherwin Williams, Kohls, Kauffman Counters and Kohler are just some of the businesses who stepped up to donate materials and time.
"In the climate we have in our country right now, to know that there's this many people that know this mission of this house is for LGBT children, it gives me hope that we don't have to worry about that anymore," said Brad.
In addition to housing, Courage House will offer therapy, life skills coaching, tutoring and job training.
Courage House can host five teens. Courage MKE has a vision to create not only a larger home, but multiple homes in Wisconsin.
Courage MKE will host a ribbon cutting at the home Feb. 28.