NewsFeed @ Youth In Need | May 22, 2017
Pat’s Chat: "I felt important and valued, like I could be something."
Staff at Youth In Need work so hard every day to improve the lives of children, youth and families. But the reality is that they often don’t know if they have truly made a difference until much later. I want to forward a true story that Dawn Hiatt, our Regional Director RHY (West) shared recently about a young person coming full circle, and about the little and big things that happen at Youth In Need that really do make a life-changing difference.
“I had a former Transitional Living Program (TLP) youth from about six to eight years ago come by today. He is 25—Justin D. I remember him but not specifics about him. Anyway, he wanted to come and talk to our youth about how the program was for him and his experience. The way he talked about the program at the Shelter and TLP was so real and exactly the struggles our kids have now. They hate the rules, don’t like budgeting, don’t like saving, staff are too strict, have to look for a job, too many expectations…and the list went on and on. The awesome thing is that he is 25, working a job and just finished an internship for phlebotomy. He would love to come and talk to our kids about his experience and how the things he hated about TLP impact his life today.
Just a few things he shared:
- Every time he sees a Safe Place sign, he knows that is where his life actually started feeling safe…Youth In Need’s Emergency Shelter.
- Every time he goes to learn something new about budgeting and money, he remembers glimpses of what staff taught him.
- When he thinks about his life now, he knows that it would’ve taken a totally different turn had Youth In Need not been a part of his life.
- He talked about several staff in particular, but they absolutely made a difference and made him feel important and valued…and like he could be something.
- Most important, he loved the fact that whether at Shelter or TLP, he had clothes, a bed, food, and staff made him feel like he was a part of a family.
It’s hard to remember at times…because we don’t always see the bigger picture and how things turn out down the road. We try to celebrate small successes, but it’s moments like today that full reality sets in…we are making memories and experiences for these youth. We are moving them to a different space and helping them to succeed…which means our work is valuable even when we don’t know it.”
Youth In Need Holds Anti-Bias/Anti-Racism Training
Youth In Need recently held a two-and-a-half-day anti-bias/anti-racism training for agency stakeholders, including Board members, staff throughout the organization, the agency’s Executive Management Team, Diversity Council and Diversity/NCCJ Facilitrainer team. The training took a collective look at Youth In Need’s systems, where bias exists and how the agency can begin to break down those systems. Crossroads, an organization that works toward dismantling racism and building racial justice in institutions as well as throughout communities, provided the training. Youth In Need is considering Crossroads training as a complimentary addition to current efforts in the area of diversity, inclusion and equity.
Trivia Night Sets Records
Girlfriends for Good held its annual trivia night last in April to benefit Youth In Need. With a record 33 tables, the event raised more than $12,000 from table sales, raffles and silent auction items to support the agency’s programs and services. Girlfriends for Good is a group of lifelong friends who began volunteering at Youth In Need years ago by providing birthday celebrations for youth in the Emergency Shelter and Transitional Living Program. Since Girlfriends for Good began their trivia event seven years ago, they have raised more than $75,000 for Youth In Need. Congratulations to the Girlfriends, and thanks for an amazing event!
YIN-Fest Celebrates Staff and Recognizes Employee of the Year
YIN-Fest, Youth In Need’s annual staff appreciation event, is a chance for staff from all of our locations (spanning 100 miles!) to celebrate and connect in one place. This year’s event was held once again at Lakeside 370 Park in St. Peters. Hundreds of staff gathered on a windy—but sunny!—day to relax, eat, visit, play and celebrate. Among the celebrations were the annual service anniversary awards, the Spirit Award—congratulations to the RHY West team, the new t-shirt competition—congratulations to the Head Start East Home-Based team—and the much-anticipated Employee of the Year Award.
Youth In Need’s Board of Regents also selected Elma Simovic, Home-Based Manager for Head Start East, as this year’s Employee of the Year! Elma’s entire team of Family Educators nominated her and had much to say about what she brings to her families, her team and the organization. Elma goes above and beyond for her team, making time for them and always offering an open door. Not only does she stand up when the odds are against her, but her team also appreciates that she doesn’t expect them to do anything she wouldn’t do herself. “Elma is genuinely concerned about our families and any issues they may be having, her team said. “She thinks about our families all the time.” Congratulations, Elma, on your much-deserved award and on your 15-year anniversary at Youth In Need!