Facilities Staff Provides Life Skills Instruction
During the COVID-19 health crisis, the “new normal” looks a bit different for everyone, not only with how we live, but also with how we work. For Youth In Need’s facilities staff, adjusting how and where they do their jobs is the name of the game.
Normally responsible for maintaining seven of Youth In Need’s locations, Sammie Coleman, Facilities Supervisor, is focusing his time on the maintenance needs of the Transitional Living Program (TLP) group home and responding to emergencies at his other locations as needed.
Since Sammie has had more time at the group home, he’s taken this opportunity to offer a hands-on maintenance series for the youth at TLP, something he’s been thinking about doing for some time and something Jordan Eilerman, TLP Case Manager, has fully supported.
“His ideas stood out to me because the skills he can teach them are ones I don’t know yet — and want to learn myself — and things that can help our youth gain independence and save money in the future,” Jordan said. “I believe because of this information our youth are better prepared for life after TLP.
Their first lesson was electric! Sammie took his expertise in electrical work and instructed the youth on how to wire a single light switch with an outlet and a three-way switch with an outlet. Another hands-on lesson focused on car maintenance, teaching the youth how to change a tire, jump start a car battery and check the oil and transmission fluid. And some youth have helped with painting at TLP.
Happy with how things are progressing, Sammie is letting the youth drive the instruction. “I ask them what they want to do,” Sammie said. “There’s pretty much nothing I can’t do, and if I don’t know how to do it, I can figure it out.”
So far, they expressed interest in learning how to cut down a tree, do body work on cars and patch holes in dry wall. Next, they will work on turning one of the walls in a youth’s bedroom into a chalkboard and building a custom frame for it as well as learning how to fully inspect a car before purchase.
Looking forward to life after COVID, Sammie would like to continue his lessons with all of the residential programs, helping youth learn a few extra skills.
“I want this for all of the programs,” Sammie said. “I want to give them something extra they can take with them when they leave Youth In Need.”
CSF Awards Emergency Funding
The St. Louis Children’s Service Fund announced it has awarded 19 local nonprofits, including Youth In Need, with emergency funding, totaling $250,000, as a response to the COVID-19 public health crisis. Youth In Need will receive $16,000 to assist with increased operational costs for the Emergency Shelter and Transitional Living Program, providing increased pay for front line staff in those programs.