AveNEWS February 2017
Avenues supports more than 300 youth a year - and we can't do it without you! To help homeless youth move from surviving to thriving, please donate.   

In This Issue
Mark Your Calendars

March 14 is Homeless Day on the Hill, a day of advocacy for people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota.  Click here to register. 
18th Annual Spring Child Welfare Conference on April 19 (8:30 am - 12 noon) at the University of Minnesota. Avenues' ConneQT Program Manager, Ryan Berg, will be speaking at the event. Click here to register

Community Emergency Assistance Programs (CEAP) and Avenues for Homeless Youth are hosting Together for Good - a fundraiser to strengthen the Brooklyn Community safety net. The fundraising breakfast will be held on May 24 at 8:00 a.m. at Edinburgh Golf Club in Brooklyn Park. Click here for sponsorship opportunities
During the month of March, DNK Skin in Edina will give customers 20% off services to those who give a monetary donation to Avenues. Thanks Danielle for your support! 
On April 29, Aliese Hoesel, soprano, and Steven Zubich are hosting a vocal recital with a free will offering for Avenues. 

Sign up for Building on Dreams, Avenues' 4th annual spring breakfast on May 2, 2017! To learn about hosting a table or sponsorship opportunities, contact Julia O'Brien, Avenues' Development Director.
This Month 

A huge thank you to the Donato family and the Victor Donato Memorial Foundation for supporting Avenues at your annual gala! Shout out to all the attendees who made the night so special and supported Avenues! 

We are so grateful to everyone involved with the 3rd Annual Red Affair - Suzanne Erickson and her team at  Jungle Red Salon Spa Gallery , all the sponsors and guests who supported Avenues! 
Shout out to Steve, Margit and Chase from Thrivent Financial for supporting Avenues at your Live Generously event! Youth enjoyed the snacks and winter wear! 

Thanks to our volunteer Ron, Minneapolis Avenues' clothing closet looks like a shopping center! Thank you for revamping our shelving, sorting through in-kind gifts and organizing our closet!

Thank you to the LGBT Resource Group at Faegre Baker Daniels for painting our new space, QA! 

Shout out to the Rotary Club of Brooklyn Park for supporting Avenues at your 31st Annual Wild Game Dinner! 
Avenues Wish List
We've updated our wish lists with our current needs. Click here for a printable list Shop locally and deliver yourself to Avenues (please email ahead). Or shop online at  Amazon , Target and Walmart

Avenues makes in-kind donation drives easy! If your organization wants to hold a drive, we will supply donation bins and marketing materials. Our staff can even drop off and pick up, if needed.

We're Hiring
Mental Health Therapist 
Maintenance Technician 
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Avenues for Homeless Youth
Administration Offices:

1708 Oak Park Ave N.
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55411
Dear Friends:

I share with you my great concern about the direction of our nation and state today. I fear the important social and human justice gains made recently are at tremendous risk of being undone. And further progress still needed to close the gaping and growing economic and social divides in our society is nowhere on the horizon.
Without further progress, Avenues and its partners will remain in the business of responding to homelessness. When systems are as unfair as they are, people fall through the gaps, and many of them end up homeless.
All of us at Avenues long for better days, when everyone thinks like a community and recognizes that "we all do better when we ALL do better," when individual self interest is not what motivates. 
Until that day comes, Avenues will do whatever it can to improve the playing field for young people who experience homelessness. This year, Avenues will care for more than 300 young people who are homeless. We will help them find safety, attain stability, dream about their future, and go after their dreams.
We can do this only because of and with your support. Thank you. 

Deborah Loon
Executive Director 

Brooklyn Avenues' Two Year Anniversary 

During February we celebrated the two year anniversary of Brooklyn Avenues, our 12-bed home in Brooklyn Park. Since its opening, Brooklyn Avenues has touched the lives of 185 youth who received shelter and support during their stay. 

Of the youth supported, 68 youth lived in the house for an average of 100 days and another 117 youth used the emergency bed. Of the youth who exited the program, 40% moved in with family and 30% moved into other stable housing. 

Currently, Brooklyn Avenues' youth are dreaming big about their education and futures. Avenues' Education and Career Specialist shared that youth are planning on finishing high school, looking at college options, and dreaming about their future careers. One youth is in a training program to achieve his dream of becoming a mechanic. Another youth is taking art classes in high school so that she can achieve her dream of obtaining an arts degree.  

Since its opening, we've celebrated many youth graduations, birthdays and dreams achieved. This would not be possible without the support of the Brooklyn community - thank you for supporting our youth and making our work possible!    

Celebrating Black History Month  
In February, Avenues staff and youth celebrated Black History Month. Both shelters were decorated with quotes from black people who've inspired our staff and youth.  Minneapolis Avenues also hosted a day long black history celebration. 

At the celebration, youth and staff discussed who in black history has inspired them, and shared their favorite quotes and poetry from famous black figures. Youth and staff also enjoyed home cooked food, and youth watched Malcolm X after the party ended. 

Our New Space - QA  

As some of you know, our offices at Minneapolis Avenues (MA) have been bursting at the seams for a while now.  It's been mostly great, since we actually enjoy being so close to our co-workers, but not too convenient when we want to have meetings and/or private conversations.  And for our case managers JP and Kelly, MA has not been a location where youth from our host home programs could actually meet on a regular basis.  So when the opportunity arose to rent space from RECLAIM, one of our partners, we jumped at the chance to stretch our limbs.
We are happy to announce Queer Avenues (QA), our new space for ConneQT and GLBT Host Home Programs' staff!  Kelly, JP, Rocki and Ryan will be running the programs out of this new space in St. Paul, allowing us to create more social and support options for the LGBTQI youth in our programs. We look forward to movie nights, Foosball tournaments and air hockey games with youth! 
We also look forward to the collaboration space. We've already had one training for new hosts in the space, as well as community meetings with youth workers in the Twin Cities for the recently created Q-Tip (Queer and Trans In Practice) - a group that is committed to improving our organizations' competencies in working with LGBTQI young people experiencing homelessness.
Feel free to stop by and visit.  It's been freshly painted by the lovely   LGBT Resource Group folks at Faegre Baker Daniels and we are in the process of making it comfy and welcoming.  The coffee pot is plugged in and ready to go.

Volunteer Spotlight: Sunday Night Dinner Volunteers

Lisa Peterson knew her community wanted to give back, and that cooking meals would be a great way to do it.  After learning more about Avenues, Lisa decided to organize weekly dinners for Minneapolis Avenues' youth. Volunteers could prepare meals at their home, deliver them to Lisa's porch (which has a fridge), and she'd deliver the meals to Minneapolis Avenues on Sunday. 

"I'm compelled to help the youth Avenues' serves," Lisa said. "Kids in my neighborhood don't realize that their lifestyles aren't like this everywhere else." 

Lisa posted on social media the volunteer opportunity, and when she got a huge response, she created a sign up sheet on Sign Up Genius. Volunteers could sign up to cook Sunday meals from the middle of February all the way to Memorial Day weekend in May. 

"Within two weeks of making the sign up, the whole list was full," Lisa said. "A few of them are my friends, but most are total strangers. It reminds you that lots of people want to do the right thing and give back." 

Minneapolis Avenues' youth have already enjoyed two delicious, home cooked meals thanks to volunteers. Dinners include a choice of two main dishes, bread, salad and dessert - all to feed 24 youth. 

"A lot of people want to make the change and give back," Lisa said. "It's been a reaffirming experience of community and goodness." 

On behalf of Minneapolis Avenues' staff and youth, thank you to the volunteers who have made Sunday dinners so special! 

To learn about volunteering opportunities, contact Craig Freeman, Community Engagement Manager.