Every year our neighborhood of Ballard does a little something different for Black Friday. Local shops and businesses donate a portion of their Friday sales to a local charity. This year re-souL has partnered with YouthCare. In addition to donating a portion of our sales for the day, we will be kicking off our shoe drive to help collect shoes for homeless youth in need.
Unfortunately, Seattle is experiencing a rise of homeless people living on the streets. Each night in Seattle, up to 1,000 young people have no safe place to sleep. With over 40 years of experience, YouthCare builds confidence and self-sufficiency for homeless youth by providing outreach, basic services, emergency shelter, housing, counseling, education and employment training.
Facts about Youth Homelessness
• 32,494 students in WA public schools were homeless in the 2013-2014 school year.
• 40% of homeless youth identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ); many were kicked out for coming out to their parents or guardians.
Facts about YouthCare
With multiple sites and a continuum of individualized services, through YouthCare in 2014:
• Nearly 1,400 young people accessed basic services during drop-in hours at YouthCare’s James W. Ray Orion Center.
• 572 young people found safety in YouthCare’s emergency shelters, with nearly 2/3 exiting into improved housing situations.
• 164 young people were housed in YouthCare’s transitional living programs, with over 60% exiting into more stable housing situations.
We were first introduced to YouthCare by our friend/stylist Mellicia Marx of Poplin Style. One of the things that Mellicia does to help is donate clothes and her time to style outfits for graduates of the YouthCare Barista Training and Education Program. These young folks are trained in food and customer service in partnership with FareStart. YouthCare works with youth in the Barista program to encourage confidence and give them the tools to succeed. Prior to graduating, they do a styling session with Mellicia and get to keep the outfit for future job interviews.
I personally have attended one of these graduation ceremonies. To see how far they have come in just eight weeks and how much YouthCare has helped them is a life changing experience. It is very humbling and uplifting to hear their stories and why they appreciate everything that is provided for them through YouthCare.
We wanted to see what we could do to help, and were told that shoes can make the biggest impact. It’s important for youth feel confident when meeting potential employers. Good shoes can make a big difference, in so many ways, most of which we probably take for granted. Many of the homeless youth are on their feet all day, pounding the pavement. Proper shoes keep their feet dry, warm and comfortable.
Starting November 27th, re-souL will be collecting new or gently worn shoes for YouthCare. These shoes will help with their style sessions and prepare them for the interview process. Please bring in any shoe donations to re-souL from now until December 31st, 2015. We’ll make sure they get to someone in need and help them get on the right foot for the New Year.
Want to learn more? Follow this link to see other ways you can help YouthCare this holiday season.
Thank you for your time and interest in YouthCare.