To give homeless youth a space to be kids again.
In August of 2017, New Reach, a supportive housing and counseling organization for individuals experiencing homelessness, was faced with some difficult decisions. With federal funding being shifted away from shelters, New Reach could no longer keep open its Careways Shelter for women and children. With state funding remaining flat, more cuts would need to be made. This sadly included a children's program for the kids at the LifeHaven shelter, meaning that the children lost access to the facilities, homework help, and activities they had grown accustomed to enjoying after school. Children experiencing homelessness are statistically more likely to drop out of school and have lower standardized test scores than the peers.
Determined to help close this educational achievement gap, YHHAP Big Sibs was created in the Fall of 2017. Through this weekly program, YHHAP volunteers visit LifeHaven shelter to offer homework help and, more importantly, to provide an environment where kids can be kids again.
How to get involved:
Join and become a Big Sibling.
Big Sibs are expected to commit to at least one weekday-afternoon shift each week. This is a 1.5-2 hour time commitment, including driving to and from the shelter. On a typical shift, Big Sibs can expect to assist with homework, play games, and lead the group in arts and crafts, legos, and more. We are always looking to expand and improve the quality of the programming we offer, so bring your ideas and enthusiasm! We work to maintain stability in our scheduling, so we try to do all of our recruiting in the first two weeks of the semester, then pick a weekly schedule based around what works for our volunteers. For new volunteers, this will include a quick round of screening and training. However, don't hesitate to reach out if you're interested in joining! We might have a shift that could use you, or at the very least we'll add you to the list for the next semester.