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/

Food and Fun = Cooking Class

cooking class 2

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

Tags: , ,

Youth and Seniors- A Growing Bond

group

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!

VOLUNTEERS 039

Meet Our New Tutor

Maurice - our new volunteer tutor

Maurice - our new volunteer tutor

We had a new GED tutor start today at Covenant House.  He’s pretty special for a few reasons.  First of all, he’s an English teacher and we’re always grateful to have teachers working with our youth, but maybe more notable is his affiliation with CHMO.  Maurice lived at Covenant House – like all our residents, he began in the crisis program and then progressed into our transitional living program where he thrived.  He was part of our Youth Advisory Council and served as an ambassador for CHMO on several occasions.  He also kept us all up to date on what was happening here through a newsletter he wrote and produced.   Last December, he graduated from Harris Stowe University and moved into his own apartment.  He works with ninth graders in the writing lab at Hazelwood Central.  It’s great to see him in the halls of the Cov again.

Tags: , ,

“Fresh Start” Garden Project

Thanks to volunteers Phil Blahut and Gordon Gosh, the Covenant House garden project is in full swing.  Phil is a farmer and Gordon is a Master Gardener at the Missouri Botanical Garden.  They’ve been teaching CHMO youth the benefits of growing their own food and the basics of gardening.  Teams of youth and staff have planted boxes filled with veggies, herbs and fruits in hopes of a bountiful harvest.  The garden was funded last spring by a group of volunteer students from SLU through a “Learn to Teach” grant.  J.R., one of our youth, chose the name “Fresh Start” to reflect the way she feels about the fresh start she’s received from CHMO. Another youth, Terrell, has already noticed how working in the garden is bringing him peace.  Truly a project with many benefits.  We are grateful to all our garden participants!

Tags: , ,

GRADUATION!

Some of our proud grads.

Some of our proud grads.

Today is one of those days when the success of our program is clear.  This morning,  we celebrated our graduates: 6 High School grads and 23 GED grads.  Our keynote speaker was Maurice Raspberry, a CHMO grad as well as our first college grad – he holds a BSEd from Harris Stowe University.  Seeing all those proud faces in caps and gowns and listening to words of encouragement and praise was a testament to the potential our youth each possess.  Today was also a day to recognize the many volunteers who bring their time and gifts to Covenant House.  We celebrated this occasion as a community — youth, staff, volunteers, board members and families  — with a picnic on our parking lot.  Congratulations to all our graduates and thank you to all those who made their accomplishment possible.

Tags: , ,

A Visit to Friendly Village

Several of our youth were recently able to create a special night for about 50 residents of Friendly Village Apartments through a grant provided by the Mental Health Board.  They provided a delicious dinner of baked chicken, mashed potatoes and vegetables to the grateful seniors.  Following dessert, the bingo cards were passed around and a few wild rounds of bingo ensued.  The idea behind the evening was to break down stereotypes between the generations by sharing food and fellowship.  The seniors were touched by the youths’ efforts to reach out and do positive things for the community.  The young people got the satisfaction of knowing they’d brightened the seniors’ day.  The hugs and kisses at the end of the evening were a pretty good indication of the success of the project.  For more pictures, find us on Facebook – www.facebook.com/covenanthousemo.

Jerome

Tags: , , ,

Prom!

Rick and Mariah - Prom 2011!

Rick and Mariah - Prom 2011!

Here’s a picture of two of our youth who attended Jenning’s prom last weekend.  Prom was held at the downtown Hilton and Mariah said the ballroom looked just like a formal restaurant – folded napkins and everything!  The food was good, the music was cool – they had a fun night.  Personally, I think it’s pretty amazing that Rick had no idea what color dress she was wearing – they look awesome together!  (but just friends…)

Tags: , ,

Field Trip to Jeff City

Several of our youth made a trip to Jefferson City yesterday to learn more about what goes on in our capital.   They visited the State Capitol and witnessed our politicians hard at work.  They also had the opportunity to tour the Governor’s Mansion.   Antoine, one of the youth who went said the mansion was his favorite.  “I’ve always wanted to see a mansion, it was so big and there was art everywhere.  It was cool.”  This is the second year staff has planned the outing and taken the youth to Jefferson City.  It’s an opportunity for them to leave their cares behind for a day and just enjoy being tourists of the Show-Me State. 

Hanging out in Jeff City

Hanging out in Jeff City

Tags: , ,

Room Makeovers!

Have you seen any of those great redecorating shows on the HG channel?  The staff at CHMO decided to surprise a few of our youth in the Transitional Living Program with room makeovers recently.  Two of the youth came home to find their rooms totally redorated and looking incredibly sharp.  They were chosen based on how well they’re doing in the program.  The letter from staff read:

“Thanks for doing such a great job during your stay at CHMO.  We appreciate you allowing us to make a difference in your life.  With this in mind, the room that you are now graced with is a gift to you for your outstanding behavior and leadership qualities.” 

The rooms come with expectations, but knowing these youth, they’ll gratefully live up to those expectations.  Congrats!

Terrell in his newly decorated room.

Terrell in his newly decorated room.