Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler was in Tennessee on Monday to celebrate the opening of Janie’s House, a center for young girls who have been abused and neglected.
According to WJHL, Tyler, 70, donated a half-million dollars from his charity, Janie’s Fund , to help renovate the Memphis-area home operated by Youth Villages , a national foundation that helps children cope with emotional, behavioral and mental problems.
“This does my heart and my soul good,” the “Sweet Emotion” singer said during this week’s ceremony. “This is real.”
The center gets its name from Aerosmith’s 1989 song “ Janie’s Got a Gun ,” which is about a young girl who turns to drugs after being abused by her father. Tyler said he was inspired to open the home after he spent time in a treatment center, and saw first hand the effects that abuse, whether physical or emotional, can have on young victims, according to the Memphis Commerical Appeal .
“As you can only imagine, being in a band with guys for 50 years, you can have problems,” the Grammy-award winning singer, who also provided artwork for the facility, explained. “And rather than quit, I decided to go to this treatment center for co-dependency.”
“While I was there, all the girls I met had been abused either physically, mentally or verbally, or at least 90 percent of them all,” he continued. “So when I got out of there, I laid it all on Janie. I said what are you going to do?”
According to a government repor t , abuse and neglect during childhood can have lifetime consequences for survivors. These effects can range from low self-esteem, depression, and relationship difficulties to feelings of isolation, fear, and an inability to trust others.
Janie’s House can host 14 girls at once, for a total of about 30 every year, KDVR reported. Once there, girls will be provided with therapy to help them recover from their abuse and lead normal lives.
The Memphis-area home is the second location Tyler has opened since starting Janie’s Fund in late 2015. The first location is located just outside of Atlanta, Georgia, and was opened in 2017.
“We wouldn’t be here at all if it wasn’t for Steven and his dream of Janie’s Fund,” Patrick Lawler, CEO of Youth Villages, said at the grand opening, according to KDVR .
A 14-year-old girl named JaBrayia, who is a resident at the facility, said she is already seeing positive results from seeking help.
“The reason that I am at Janie’s House is because I experienced sexual abuse at the age of three,” she told a crowd during the ceremony . “Through Janie’s House, I can learn a lot about my past and learn I was not the only one that had been through the same problems.”
Tyler said he remains focused on continuing to help survivors in their recovery.
“I’m gonna bring this Janie’s Fund with me wherever I go,” he said. “It’s like a dream come true.”