Get Our Young People Off to a Smart Start!By YouthLink | September 18th, 2012 | Category: Volunteer Stories | No Comments »
Remember the excitement (and jitters) of your first day back to school-checking over your class schedule, sharing summer vacation stories with your friends, writing in fresh notebooks, wearing a new outfit?
For young people experiencing homelessness, the first day of school represents a different kind of jitters. The first day of school means the start of a new year of worrying: How will I finish my homework when I don’t know where I am sleeping tonight? Where can I wash the clothes I’m wearing today, so that I can wear them again tomorrow? Who can I borrow a pencil or a notebook from since I don’t have money to buy my own?
At YouthLink, we believe education-whether a high school diploma or GED-is an avenue out of poverty and out of homelessness. For young people like Liz, the warm meals, tutoring, and access to basic needs like laundry, clothing, and showers that she found at YouthLink allowed her to earn her GED last school year, and walk in YouthLink’s annual graduation ceremony.
After the thrill of the ceremony, Liz now looks back, saying, “I’ve been surprised how people can be so caring for strangers.” What Liz found at YouthLink-what you provide at YouthLink-was more than an educational resource. She found caring staff who helped her cover the basics: food, clothing, and a safe space, so she could focus on her dreams and achieve them.
How can you help a young person get off to a smart start this September? Here are three easy ways:
- Alleviate the distraction of a growling stomach. Donate $25 to cover the cost of 15 hot dinners for young people.
- Be the difference between confidence and a missed class. Make an in-kind donation of new socks and underwear, or teen-appropriate clothes.
- Eliminate a barrier to completing homework. Make an in-kind donation of school supplies like folders, notebooks, pens, pencils, backpacks, and calculators.
If you have items to donate, please contact Kathleen Smith, Communications and Volunteer Coordinator at email@example.com or 612-252-1211.