What Do They Do?
Youth Haven's vision is that every child in Southwest Florida will grow up in a safe and nurturing family environment. Youth Haven's mission is to protect and empower children and strengthen families in Southwest Florida through comprehensive care and community collaboration.
Programs United Way Supports
Youth Haven proposes to use 2016 United Way funds to enhance its continuum of care for homeless teens. In 2014, in response to a local unmet need, Youth Haven opened a new shelter and drop in center for Collier County’s homeless and runaway youth. Currently 18 teens, ages 13-17, may be housed in the shelter at any given time. An additional 30-40 youth access the drop in center each week. Unfortunately, the need for these programs is greater than the current capacity. Plans are underway to build a new shelter on Youth Haven’s campus that will house an additional 22 homeless youth, bringing the total capacity to 40 beds. Youth often become homeless when their families suffer financial crises. They may leave home after years of physical or sexual abuse, strained relationships, addiction of a family member, or parental neglect. Homeless families often become separated due to shelter regulations, leaving teens on their own when parents are also homeless. Without intervention, the future is bleak for homeless and runaway teens. While surviving on the streets, youth are more likely to be assaulted or coerced by predators, commit crimes, engage in prostitution, and become pregnant. They do not receive needed medical or psychological attention, and fail to find enough food and shelter to survive. They are at high risk for developing serious, life-long health, behavioral, and emotional problems.
The homeless youth program helps mend broken families and builds self-sufficient young adults who lead productive lives and contribute positively to our community. Family reunification is the primary goal for some homeless and runaway teens. Others, for whom family reunification is not an option, require intensive services to help them transition successfully to adulthood. These teens may stay at Youth Haven a year or more to ensure they have the skills and support they need to live successfully in the community. Upon entering the program, each youth establishes between 5- 10 individual goals, then works toward meeting toals with assistance from the program staff. UWCC funds will cover the cost of salary and benefits for a full-time case manager ($40,000) and a part-time life transition coach ($25,000).
Program activities include:
Linking youth with healthcare services including primary, specialty and dental care.
Assisting youth with scheduling of and transportation to school, work, counseling, recreation, medical care.
Exploring career and workforce opportunities with youth.
Providing basic living skills training including consumer education and instruction in budgeting, the use of credit, housekeeping, menu planning and food preparation and parenting skills.
Linking teens with educational opportunities, such as GED preparation, post-secondary training and vocational education.
Helping teens to complete college and student aid applications.
Assisting with job preparation and attainment, such as obtaining citizenship and identification documents, career counseling and job placement.
Employing positive youth development strategies including giving youth access to experiences that build leadership, boost self-awareness, and connect youth to families and/or caring adults.
What Volunteers Do
Due to the confidential and sensitive nature of Youth Haven’s programs, volunteers are used somewhat sparingly. Just like employees, volunteers are required to have background screening and attend agency-required orientation and training. This can become cost-prohibitive and tends to limit the number of persons willing to volunteer. However, there are several ways in which groups of volunteers have been able to help, mostly involving cleaning and landscaping projects.
What Dollars Do
•$25 a pair of shoes for a child
•$50 a child’s car seat for the family
•$75 bedding for a child’s bed
•$ 500 summer camp for 2 children
•$1,000 one week of respite care to give parents a break and prevent child abuse or neglect
Address: 5867 Whitaker Road, Naples, FL 34112