Homeless Youth Find Their Voice!

3 youth and one Case Manager took a road trip to Jefferson City to participate in the Governor’s Conference To End Homelessness on November 15th. The purpose of the road trip was to participate in the Youth Perspective Panel Discussion that focused on educating the public on youth homelessness. In addition, the youth discussed various ways agencies and communities can create or improve programs to better serve these talented, highly motivated youth. Many of the 30-40 attendees were impressed at the confidence, insight, optimism and foresight these youth displayed. To read an article published in the Columbia Tribune about the event and panel discussion, please go to:
http://www.columbiatribune.com/news/2012/nov/15/young-people-talk-about-homelessness-at-conference/

Presidential Debate Heads to The Cov!

Many of our youth have questions about the upcoming presidential race and those questions were answered on Monday by Shannon Garth – Rhodes a representative from President Obama’s campaign and Lauren Heger a staff of Mitt Romney’s campaign.

What an awesome experience to have our youth engaged and actively seeking answers that will possibly influence their decision on which candidate they will vote for in the November 6th election.  The youth asked various questions including “What are the plans for job creations?” and “How does each candidate deal with discriminatory practices?”   Will they vote for President Barack Obama or Candidate Mitt Romney?  We do not know the answer to that question, however, based on the questions asked to the representatives, they WILL vote!

Volunteering Is Good For The Soul!

There is not a day that goes by that our youth never cease to amaze us!  Although they have so many obstacles and hurdles to overcome, they remain committed to caring for others.  Recently, the youth completed two projects – The Ronald McDonald House and The Neighborhood Stabilization Project – in which they dedicated their time in helping families of sick children and beautifying the neighborhood in which Covenant House Missouri is located.

The youth took great pride in both events and embraced the opportunities to assist wherever needed.  What is most exciting about the Ronald McDonald House volunteer project is that the youth get to showcase their project to several other youth programs this weekend.  They will highlight the tour of Ronald McDonald House, the stories of hope and optimism the families presented, and the impact the volunteer project had on their lives.

To quote one of our youth, “Volunteering is easier than what people think.  It’s the simple things that make you feel good about giving back”.  What an amazing mind set to have when even in the midst of your own storm, you can reflect on giving back to others.

To learn more about the community service projects, please review the showcase post card below.

STOP HUMAN TRAFFICKING NOW!

Human Trafficking is the act of violence, fraud or coercion for the purpose of sexual exploitation and/or forced labor.  Last week, Tammie Belk, our Sr Director of Operations had the opportunity to speak with Mona Suliman and Ali Wolf of Traffic In Our Streets, about their current research efforts on how agencies are addressing the various forms of trafficking.  They are traveling across the US to ultimately gain a better understanding of human trafficking, what methodologies are in place to address this issue, and conclude who is most at risk of being trafficked.

Their research complements the advocacy efforts of Covenant House International and all Covenant House Sites in bringing global attention to this matter.  According to research findings, homeless and at risk youth are at a Greater risk of being trafficked because they lack fiscal and social supports thereby making them vulnerable to predators.

It is our intent to prevent this from happening by providing visible and accessible services to youth so they can veer from the streets and predators to a place of refuge and support.

We welcomed their insight and questions so that we can all gain ideas on how to magnify our efforts to end human trafficking!

To follow their road to research, go to http://www.trafficinourstreets.wordpress.com

To learn more about Covenant House Internationals efforts go to
http://www.covenanthouse.org/help-homeless-youth/human-trafficking

Volunteers – One of Our Greatest Assets!

It’s been a busy summer at Covenant House Missouri, especially with an influx of new volunteers. People young and old are looking to make a difference for our youth, from a few hours one day to being a regular, weekly volunteer. It’s a wonderful experience to have someone share their skill and time in helping us fulfill our mission.

New volunteers are making a difference already…

Beckah is assisting a youth on Mondays nights with math. Because of her, one of our young men is now re-motivated to complete the GED program.

Sonya is helping our employment counselor, Ms. Eileen, on a weekly basis with administrative duties. Her involvement is now giving Ms. Eileen more time to focus on new classroom projects.

Leslie has been a vital member of the front desk, welcoming people in the afternoons. She is now shifting her talents to help staff with administrative projects, a never-ending duty.

We appreciate each and every person for what they bring to our organization! Volunteers do make a difference for both our youth and staff. If interested in sharing your skills and time with us, please visit our volunteer website and complete the online application. You can also contact Jeanine Simnick with questions at (314) 450-7685 or jsimnick@covenanthousemo.org.

Food and Fun = Cooking Class

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The other night youth gathered to learn from SLU students Jason and Cerena on how to prepare baked chicken, chips and salsa and spinach smoothies. At first the crowd was small, but as the laughter and conversation grew, more and more youth came by the room to see what was being made. Even though the males tended to poke jokes at each other, it was all in good fun. The youth enjoyed themselves while learning how to prepare their own meals.

This is the second of three classes in July. Thanks to Jason and Cerena for their expertise and supplies!

cooking class 1

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Summer Gardening for Youth

Even with the heat of the summer, our Fresh Start garden continues to grow! You may remember back in May we announced the beginning of the Fresh Start garden, a volunteer funded project. Since then the garden plots have been maintained by four teams of youth and staff. Each team is responsible to plant, weed, water and harvest vegetables and herbs.

As you can see from the picture, the efforts of our youth have been paying off in cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes and more! The garden serves as a great, ongoing life skill. Way to go CHMO!

garden blog

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Campaign Results In

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The $20,000 in 20 Days Campaign has ended with $15,127 in gifts and pledges. THANK YOU! These last 20 days of the fiscal year have been an exciting time. Staff, volunteers, friends and more were spreading the news about our fundraising goal and bringing back words of support and gifts to our office.

As a result of this community interest, Covenant House Missouri will be in an even stronger position to serve all youth in need. From the youth who needs a meal and bed for the night, to the youth who needs an environment of safety and ongoing comfort. Every day, someone is benefitting from our programs and services. Your interest and support of our organization makes that possible!

Thank you again!

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Youth and Seniors- A Growing Bond

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Covenant House Missouri visit on June 24

In June, another group of youth visited the Mary Ryder Home for an afternoon of games and conversations with residents. These young men and women enjoyed the afternoon playing Uno and Wii, sharing stories and appreciating each other’s company.

You may know that the Mary Ryder Home, a nonprofit residential care/assisted living facility, is hard at work providing seniors a safe home, medical attention and an array of programs and services focused on promoting healthy aging.

CHMO looks forward to the ongoing relationship with the Mary Ryder Home. It’s a wonderful opportunity to have two non-profit organizations share in each other’s resource – people!

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Final five days underway!

The final five days of our Campaign are underway! It’s exciting to share that we have raised almost $15,000 in gifts and pledges and attribute that to our great group of community supporters. Over the last two weeks many friends, staff and volunteers of CHMO have made calls to past donors, reconnecting them with our important mission. We’re hopeful we’ll reach our goal of $20,000 by Thursday, June 30!

If you haven’t already done so, please consider making a gift today. Only five more days to go, and each and every gift will impact our campaign goal and ultimately, our services to youth.

Please visit our blog on Friday, July 1 for the final total. We’re excited to see the outcome!

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