Thursday, July 22, 2010

Outreach - What is it?

Outreach can really be broken down into three types of outreach at the SUFK - Worcester chapter:

1. Scouting. When we kicked off the outreach team, this was the first thing we did. We visited various different locations in Worcester trying to determine where the kids were. Now that we have a regular location, we don't necessarily have to scout. But it's good to survey new locations, especially when you have a good number of outreach counselors. Six outreach counselors scheduled for one night of street outreach? Send four of them out to explore and keep two familiar faces at the regular location to talk to youth. Those who go scouting then engage in street outreach with youth they meet during scouting.
2. Street Outreach. Quite simply, street outreach is getting out there and talking to youth. We go to a regular location once a week. Every week we approach new and regular youth. We provide them with immediate resources and also encourage them to set long term goals. We also provide them with information about local services, such as food pantries and GED Programs. Do you know where the closest food pantry is to your house? No. Then chances are an at-risk or homeless youth doesn't either.
3. Outreach Center. Once a youth has set his or her long term goals, we set up an appointment with him or her at our outreach center (or a location convenient to the youth) and assist the youth in identifying the steps needed to complete that goal. For example, a youth wants to apply for a job. The basic step to start with is what is the youth interested in doing? What is his or her skills? And then start to expand on that with asking if the youth has ever developed a resume, job searched, etc.?

We are also adding a 4th Type of Outreach to our program!

4. Backpack Outreach. We'll provide immediate resources such as food and clothes to McKinney Vento Reps at the local schools. These supplies will then be distributed to youth identified as homeless within the school system. We are currently working with our first school to kick off this program. We also need to get local support to provide supplies and pack backpacks (no training needed to do this... just your time and energy!).

Of course, that's just a brief description of each type of outreach we do. Want to learn more about our program? Want to help out? Contact us at to attend our next Volunteer Orientation (Wednesday, August 11th).

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