Donors Help Us Reach Out, Dig Deep, and Build Awareness

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Our donors make an enormous difference to the young people served by YouthLink (and its Youth Opportunity Center partners). Without their generous financial contributions, our mission—to help young people move from homelessness to hope—would lack the resources needed to build lasting change.

We believe there’s something unusual about YouthLink’s donors, too. Their compassion goes well beyond welcome dollars-and-cents donations. We owe them a debt of gratitude for their passion, energy, time, and day-to-day advocacy.


Jan Engkasser remembers that shortly after he moved to Minneapolis, a coworker invited him to participate in an information session on YouthLink. After learning of YouthLink’s mission, Jan says, “It was an easy decision to start supporting the organization financially.”

Jan has a deep compassion for people who find themselves in precarious housing situations. “My parents cultivated my desire to give back, especially to those most vulnerable in society.” He recalls a time when a friend needed shelter after leaving a treatment program. Jan says: “If he hadn’t had friends to help him, he certainly would have been homeless, and would have had a much more difficult time working through his personal challenges.”

That personal experience helps Jan understand the need for YouthLink’s young clients “to have a tangible sign that people in the community care about them and want the best for them.” He adds, “I visited YouthLink and was impressed. I saw dedicated staff members and clients interacting. Even in the midst of their challenges, it was clear that YouthLink felt like a safe place for these young people to find friendship and laughter.” He says that he enjoys reading the stories in YouthLink’s newsletters of young people who have found the resources they need at YouthLink, and is inspired by their resilience.

Jan says that, coming from a place of incredible advantage in terms of resources and relationships, he wants to help others who are not as fortunate. “When someone’s world is turned upside down and they find themselves in a free-fall, we need to provide a safety net for a softer landing.”

Thank you to each and every person who has supported YouthLink in 2017! You are changing lives. To support youth experiencing homelessness, you can visit:

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