Thursday, July 8, 2010

Looking a bit closer at youth homelessness

When our counselors go out every week, it's hard to approach complete strangers on the street. But for the youth we meet, it's even harder.

One of the core pieces of outreach counseling is building trust with a youth.

The number one reason for youth homelessness is child abuse: neglect, physical, sexual, and/or emotional.

These youth have been hurt time and time again.

Then a group of complete stranger walk up to them and say they can help.

Yes, outreach counseling can be overwhelming, sometimes frustrating. But when part of counseling is building a relationship with kids who don't have a "family", don't have someone to care about them, it's pretty hard to imagine yourself not doing this work. When you can tell a kid that he or she can get a warm meal to eat down the street or his/her GED, it's worth it.

And it doesn't become so hard when you realize how much these youth need someone there just to say hello to them everyday, just to tell them they matter.

We can work with a youth once, for months, or for years, helping motivate him/her to fulfill short term and/or long term goals. It takes time. Change does not happen overnight. That's the hard part. Being there though all the good days and not so good days. But it's also the best part of being an outreach counselor.

We are always excited to have more outreach counselors on our team. Join us at our next volunteer orientation - Wednesday, July 14th at 7:00 p.m. Contact for more details.

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