A Journey Toward Hope

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Kim and Dan Glienke are changing young people’s lives for the better. But, much like the young people who walk through YouthLink’s doors, their involvement has been a journey.

It started with a simple invitation. Dan and Kim first heard about YouthLink through their church, and were invited by a friend to attend a small fundraiser to learn more. Moved by the mission of the organization, Dan committed to fundraising and participating in YouthLink’s first Executive Sleep Out in 2014.

Dan’s night outdoors, alongside young people who shared their stories with courage and hope, changed the Glienkes’ lives for good. They started to talk more frequently about what supporting young people experiencing homelessness would look like for them.

“We wanted to go beyond financial support,” says Kim. “We felt a tug to have a more personal impact, so we came up with a plan.” Every other Monday evening at YouthLink’s Archdale Apartments, Kim and Dan meet with any young person who seeks financial or employment advice or GED tutoring. “We just share what we know, and it helps these young adults to make plans, and to take action on their own behalf,” Kim suggests.  “Sometimes, we just listen.”

Dan recalls his initial hesitancy. “I don’t know what I was expecting, but I met the most amazing young people. They made me feel valued. I learned through their stories that their homelessness was not of their own making – they were doing the best they could with what they had, and all of them had hopes and goals,” says Dan.

What advice would they share with others looking to get involved? Says Kim, “Whether you decide to give financially or through your time, or both, just know that you’ll get as much, if not more, out of it than you’ll put in. These youth are worth the investment.”

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