Contributed by Michelle Overstreet
The MY House drop-in center offers a hand up to homeless youth ages 14-25, and a cornerstone of youth empowerment is education.
Through a partnership with NineStar Education and Employment, programs employ homeless youth who need to work to support themselves while completing high school or another job training program by offering flexible work schedules. MY House owns two for-profit businesses: Gathering Grounds Café that trains youth for food service including barista skills, baking, sandwich and soup making and Steamdriven Boutique which is a steampunk-themed thrift shop.
This year, six MY House clients are graduating from four different Valley schools! Another eight are completing GED testing, with two who have completed. This lays the foundation for continuing education and vocational training, and builds self-esteem for clients who may have been led to believe that they are not capable.
A (former) client graduated from college at St. Cloud University and received acceptance to a master’s program in social work. We hope that she will consider joining our staff someday, she is a wonderful, caring person. Another client completed a certificate program at UAA to be a pharmaceutical technician, and is working for the State of Alaska’s Project Hope, teaching police and other public responders to effectively use the narcan kits that can save an addict from an opiate overdose.
In addition to the college graduates, we have eight clients attending college and four serving in different branches of the military. The foundation that a GED or graduation offers builds confidence and leads to completion of education in other areas!
If you would like to support programs that empower homeless youth to graduate or get their GED, consider visiting Gathering Grounds Café for lunch or coffee and a monster cookie. Or you may be doing summer cleaning and have items to donate to the thrift shop, we take adult and young adult clothing and household items. If you need information please call 373-HELP (4357).