NewsFeed @ Youth In Need | July 16, 2018
YIN Receives Think Big for Kids Grant
YouthBridge Community Foundation has awarded Youth In Need a $76,500 Think Big for Kids grant! The grant will fund Youth In Need’s efforts to coordinate and integrate the region’s resources and services for at-risk youth. Through a network of service agencies, the coordinated youth entry model will significantly reduce youth homelessness and increase permanent housing for youth. The network will build trust and relationships with homeless youth; provide trauma-informed, age and developmentally appropriate, culturally responsive services; understand how to deal with youth victims of sex-trafficking; provide fair and equitable access to youth-appropriate housing; and utilize a positive youth development framework.
Pat’s Chat: What Is Mine to Do?
The problems of the world are vast, and our role in addressing them can seem pretty overwhelming at times. It’s the same in our corner of the world in our community and our organization. I read a couple of things recently that I found both inspired and focused me. One was a commencement speech that said “Do anything…but nothing.” Another was an article from a faith perspective that said we should look into our hearts and ask, “What is mine to do?”
What is your mission? Maybe it’s to make sure the young children you’re caring for have all the nurturing support and learning opportunities to thrive. Maybe it’s listening to young people experiencing homelessness with an open mind and heart, and offering resources and guidance to help them build on their strengths and find hope. Maybe it’s using your counseling skills to the very best of your ability to help children heal from trauma and improve their well-being. Maybe it’s working with children and families torn apart by abuse and neglect, and to help them find safety and permanency. Or maybe it’s using business, fundraising, community engagement, and marketing skills to strengthen our organization so we can do the wonderful work for our clients.
For myself, what’s mine to do is to support the staff who do the life-changing work with our clients, to educate and engage others to support our work, and to advocate for public policy changes. I also feel deeply called to work to actively address my own unconscious biases, and to work for equity in my organization and my community by having honest conversations and seeking to understand the experiences of people who are different from me.
None of us can do everything, but all of us can do something meaningful and important. What is yours to do?
Youth In Need Named a 2018 “Top Workplace”
Youth In Need has been named as one of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Top Workplaces for the sixth consecutive year! The Top Workplaces are determined solely on employee feedback secured through anonymous survey results. Seventy-six percent of Youth In Need staff (285 employees) completed the survey that measures both organizational health (direction, execution and connection) and how employees feel about their day-to-day job (managers, pay and benefits, work-life balance and opportunities for career development). We ranked No. 25 out of 50 top mid-sized companies (150-499 employees), up seven spots from 2017. “Being named a Top Workplace is a big deal,” said Pat Holterman-Hommes, Chief Executive Officer. “Only 150 companies made this year’s list. I’m honored, especially because the judges were our employees!” Thank you for making Youth In Need such an awesome place to work!
Head Start East Holds Partner Appreciation Event
Youth In Need’s Head Start East program held its second annual appreciation event for its childcare partners on June 22 at the Missouri Botanical Garden. Staff honored nine stellar infant-toddler teachers with Teacher of the Year awards for all that they do for early childhood education. Youth In Need partners with nine early childhood education providers to deliver Early Head Start services to 120 children in St. Louis City and County.
Congratulations to the awardees for everything they do to help children grow.
- Regina Garrett, Every Child’s Hope
- Lauren Unnerstall, Flance Early Learning Center
- Tacha McKinnies, Hilltop Child Development Center
- Catherine Cole, SouthSide Early Childhood Center
- Shirley Jackson, St. Louis Transitional Hope House
- Azure Nelson, Urban Sprouts Child Development Center
- Becky Hagen, University City Children’s Center
- Jennifer Jones, Friendly Temple Child Development Center
- Kristin Hawkins, Kids World North
Eight of the nine Teacher of the Year honorees, from left: Lauren Unnerstall, Azure Nelson, Becky Hagen, Jennifer Jones, Kristin Hawkins, Regina Garrett, Tacha McKinnies and Catherine Cole.
TLP Celebrates Success
The Transitional Living Program (TLP) recently held its annual Celebration of Success event, where program staff recognized youth for their many accomplishments in working toward independence. Milestones included eight youth graduating from high school or completing their HiSET (High School Equivalency Test). Maintaining employment is one of the program goals, and 50 percent of the program youth didn’t attend the celebration because they were working! Following the celebration, there were two meet and greet breakout sessions with the youth. The What’s Next? group focused on discussion about what comes after high school, while the Youth Voice group served as an advisory group discussion.
In addition, the program recognized Jill Aul and Dee Meyer from the Ethical Society of Mid Rivers for their support of the program. Congratulations to all of the TLP youth for an amazing year of achievements and the staff who helped them achieve their successes!
From left: Christina Kincaid, Teacher in Our Voice, with Jill Aul and Dee Meyer. TLP honored Aul and Meyer from the Ethical Society of Mid Rivers for their support of the program.