Youth Services: A child's view of homelessness
In addressing the needs of the family, youth (in particular) are often traumatized and are at greater risk for developmental issues, trouble at school, and coping skills. Many of these youth have faced neglectful and abusive situations themselves in the midst of unstable circumstances in their family. It is imperative that we have the adequate resources and programs to meet the needs of youth in order to end the cycle of homelessness and the trauma that accompanies it.
Youth Services for Homeless Children
Youth Services for Homeless Children serves children from 0 – 18 in Vincent House and Vincent Village. This program focuses on their physical, cognitive, social and emotional development through after school tutoring, educational and enrichment activities, and additional referrals and coordination of services for special needs children. This services are on-site which is essential for families where transporation can be a large barrier.
Literacy Program / Afterschool Tutoring
A specialized on-going literacy program focuses on the importance of reading and engages children daily in literature activities. Tutoring services in partnership with Fort Wayne Community Schools are small group tutoring Monday through Thursday with licensed teachers. These services are offered to both our Vincent House and Vincent Village Youth. Fort Wayne Community School teachers along with Vincent Village staff work to ensure academic success with over 850 hours of tutoring each year.
In order to ensure children and youth don’t internalize or continue the cycle of abuse, they must learn to deal with the emotions that are the result of many of their traumatic circumstances. Many youth internalize these circumstances and are understandably angry. Without understanding how to deal with this anger, they become resentful, have trouble with peer and adult relationships and can lash out in negative ways and can continue the cycle of abuse. "Seeing Red" is a curriculum for school aged kids that helps them regulate these emotions and react to challenging circumstances (sometimes even trauma) in a positive way.
Volunteering for youth creates socialization, builds a sense community, and increases self esteem. These life skills are important for any child, but are essential for homeless children who have instability and can struggle with creating community and bonding that is needed for social growth.
Haley's Helpers, funded by the Haley Wetherill Memorial Fund, encourages students to volunteer, give back and touts the mantra "Be Kind". Students have helped with community clean ups and have an ongoing relationship with the local nursing home. Residents are always excited to see the students which give our youth a sense of purpose and pride!
Art is a luxury that many of our students do not have access to. Through art club, students not only get to participate in art activities but it also acts as a way for them to process and deal with stress that they often are going through.