NewsFeed @ Youth In Need | October 23, 2017
Head Start Students Receive New Shoes
Nonprofit organization Shoes from the Heart visited Youth In Need’s St. Peters Head Start and Early Head Start Center earlier this month to deliver 40 pairs of brand new tennis shoes to all of the children at the center. Staff noted that, for some of the children in the center, this is the first time they’ve had a brand new pair of shoes. The giggles and cheers that erupted from the classrooms emphasized it was a great surprise indeed. Tim Ezell, from Fox 2 News’ The Thread, was also on hand to feature Shoes from the Heart and its gift to Youth In Need in an upcoming episode of his show.
“The potential for greatness lies within each of us.” —Wilma Rudolph
My son turned 23 recently, and the next day left to start a new chapter of his life in Los Angeles, California. While I’m ever so slightly anxious about him moving 1,800 miles away (and not yet having gainful employment!), I’m mostly very excited to see him pursue his dreams. He undoubtedly had many advantages growing up (supportive parents, financial stability, safety, etc.), and few of the challenges experienced by the young people Youth In Need serves. He reminds me, though, that despite the steep uphill climb that our clients face, they each have tremendous potential too.
I recently attended the “Stepping Up for Kids” awards ceremony, which recognized four foster care professionals for their outstanding work. Youth In Need’s Bridget Virdure was one of them, and part of her story includes a stay at Epworth’s Transitional Living Program as a teen parent. I learned that one of the other four awardees, Kelly, was at Youth In Need’s Cornerstone girls group home back in the early 1990s. A self-described “troublemaker,” Kelly was definitely not the poster child for success at the time. And now, fast forward 25 years, and she is literally an award-winning social worker who has dedicated her life to helping children in foster care find their forever families. Learning about her life was deeply moving and inspiring.
For the youth we serve, we are part of their life story, but we often won’t know how the rest of their story will unfold. While the day-to-day challenges of working with youth can be frustrating, Bridget and Kelly and so many others remind us to maintain unwavering hope and optimism that their futures are wide open, and the sky is the limit.
Believing in the power of potential…
YIN Mourns the Loss of Former Board Member
Youth In Need mourns the passing of former Board member Fred Schaber, who joined the Board in 1977 and served until 2013, when he transitioned to the Board of Regents. Deeply concerned about the plight of runaway and homeless youth, Fred’s connection to Youth In Need dates back to the very beginning when he volunteered as a counselor. When Youth In Need prepared to celebrate its 40th anniversary several years ago, Fred stopped by to share some newspaper clippings and documents he held on to through the years. He remembered an organization in its infancy and expressed his pride in watching it grow into what it is today. Each year, Fred could be counted on to visit the Celebration of Youth venue during set-up and offer his assistance to staff and volunteers. Fred’s stepson Jon shared that Fred “loved Youth In Need.” The feeling is certainly mutual, and he will be missed!
Grants Fund Head Start, Emergency Shelter, Operating Budget
Youth In Need recently received grants from Toyota Bodine, UPS and its UPS Foundation, and Employees Community Fund (ECF) of Boeing St. Louis in support of the agency’s Head Start program, Emergency Shelter and for general operating support. Toyota Bodine awarded $3,000 to construct a ramp for accessibility at the Troy Head Start Center. UPS awarded $5,000 to purchase tablets for the Emergency Shelter, where youth will use them to learn budgeting, conduct job searches and complete online education programs. ECF Boeing St. Louis awarded Youth In Need $6,000 for general operating support.