HOPE means something different to each young person who comes to us for support. Although we always help with big-picture things like food, housing, education and employment, sometimes it’s a unique service or a special connection that makes a young person’s time with us feel the most special.
Here are a few examples that made us smile the past few weeks:
New style for a new chapter
A first-time youth visitor happened to stop by the HOPE 4 Youth Drop-In Center on a day when a hairstylist was donating her time and skills. The volunteer offered to do a cut and style for the young woman, and she accepted.
The stylist really pampered her. She cut the young guest’s long, curly hair, conditioned and straightened it — something the young woman had never tried. The young woman was thrilled with the results. You could see it when she looked at herself in the mirror. It was the inspiration she needed to make some important plans.
Before she left that day, the young woman met with a caseworker, completed some preliminary paperwork and set some goals around getting into stable housing. She said she felt cared for at the center and had more confidence than when she had arrived. We loved hearing that.
The volunteer stylist will be offering services every month. If you have a skill that could help empower our young people, please consider becoming a volunteer.
A young woman who wears a size 3XL had started avoiding the clothing closet at the drop-in center because sizes generally only went up to XL. Upon seeing the young woman leaving empty-handed and disappointed, our volunteers sprang into action.
Volunteers Sue, Rhonda and Joann organized a plus-size clothing push and set out to surprise the young woman. When the closet was stocked with larger options, they asked caseworkers to invite her back to take another look.
We wish you could have been there to see the smile on the young woman’s face. Not only were items in her size, but they were also her style. Volunteers helped her pick out clothing that fit well, looked good and made her feel very special!
We appreciate getting clothing donations in any size but are often most in need of larger ones, including XL – 4XL. Visit our Donate Items page to see lists of clothes we accept at our donation center.
Mentors as magnets
Thanks to vaccinations, our mentors are returning to the drop-in center, and the young people who visit are thrilled.
Before the pandemic, Jeff and Gregg were regular Friday volunteers who had strong connections to the youth. When the young people heard their favorite mentors were back in the mix, they too returned. Everyone picked up where they left off, and Fridays are once again a day where mentorship is putting our vision into action, making the youth feel safe, valued and important.
Mentorship is a key part of our work with young people experiencing homelessness. We are always looking for supportive adults with time in their schedules to commit to ongoing volunteering. Visit our recently updated Volunteer page for details.