AveNEWS March 2018
With your help, Avenues will be home to more than 300 youth in 2018. 

Upcoming Events
" For everyone to have a safe place to live with a caring adult."  - A dream of an Avenues'  youth.  Together, we can build on that dream. 

Join us for an inspirational morning to hear about the dreams of Avenues' youth. Money raised will ensure that over 300 youth this year have safe, stable shelter and holistic services they need to reach their dreams.

May 1, 2018
7:30 am - 9:00 am

Nicollet Island Pavilion 

Want to learn more about Avenues? 
Attend a one hour tour of our Minneapolis shelter and we'll answer your questions about youth homelessness.  Individuals and groups are welcome. The tour is from 5:30 -6:30 pm.
May  22: Minneapolis Avenues

Tours are by appointment only.  Contact Craig Freeman to schedule your tour at 612-844-2005 or by email
Join us on Saturday, April 14 at 7:00pm-12:00 am at Jungle Red Salon Spa Gallery's annual fundraiser to benefit Avenues! All tickets include a performance from H$B, cocktail reception, live and silent auction and more! Click for details.
This Month 

Thank you St. Luke Presbyterian Church for feeding 20 hungry youth at Minneapolis Avenues in March. 
Thank you to the Jack Links volunteers who helped with administrative work at Minneapolis Avenues.

Shout out to the GSA group at Avalon School for hosting a donation drive for Avenues. 
Shout out to Buffalo Wild Wings Corporate for hosting a donation drive for Avenues! 

Sunrise Banks shared the love this Valentine's Day by donating their carnation sales to Avenues. Thank you for your support. 
Research Brief: Study finds teens in homeless families more likely to attempt suicide - University of Minnesota
Wish List
We keep our wish lists updated with our current needs. Click here for a printable list. S hop locally and deliver to Avenues. Contact Craig Freeman  to schedule your delivery. 

Or shop online at  Amazon , Target and Walmart

Conduct your own in-kind donation drive at your workplace, neighborhood, faith or civic organization! Avenues makes it easy: if you want to hold a drive, we will supply donation bins and marketing materials. Our staff can even drop off and pick up the bins and supplies. Contact Craig
Like us on Facebook   Follow us on Twitter 
  Avenues for Homeless Youth

1708 Oak Park Ave North
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55411
Dear Friends:

We all need caring, committed people in our lives to help us reach our dreams. That's why one of the key principles that guides our work at Avenues is trusting youth-adult relationships. As you'll read in the stories below, staff members like Elaine Woods and Sarah Larsen work hard to build relationships with youth by acting in an honest, dependable, authentic and supportive way. Every day we see that work pay off, as young people like Tia complete our programs, move into stable housing, and realize their education and career dreams.

We'll be highlighting dreams Avenues' youth have achieved this year at our Building on Dreams breakfast on May 1.  Please join us! I guarantee you'll leave inspired by the strength, resilience and dreams of the young people we support.

You can register for Building on Dreams here.


Katherine Meerse, Ph.D. 
Executive Director 

First Youth Completes Avenues for Young Families Program

Last winter we launched Avenues for Young Families to support homeless youth who are parenting. The program supports youth with housing search, rent subsidies and supportive services for one year. The goal of the program is for youth to increase their income while in the program so that they can take over their lease when the rent subsidies stop. 

We're proud to announce that the first youth parent completed our young families program. Originally housed at Minneapolis Avenues, *Tia entered the young families program when she was eight months pregnant. 

"She completed her GED while at Minneapolis Avenues and is now going to college," Elaine Woods, Program Manager, said. 

After having her baby, Tia started classes at MCTC to get a Certificate in Herbal Studies. Her passion is creating and selling natural products, such as essential oils. Her dream is to make her own products from her garden. 

"She started her own business while in the program," Elaine said. "She's a huge success. She makes and sells all natural, holistic products for pregnant woman." 

Tia also has  a day job and is now paying her rent independently, without subsidy support. Tia plans on continuing to work with staff for aftercare support. 

Congratulations Tia! *The youth's name has been changed. 
Know a landlord/property manager that will lease to young families? 
Contact Elaine Woods for more information on partnering with Avenues. 
612-844-1215 or Email
From left:  Marcus Genzlinger, Julia O'Brien, Katherine Meerse, Craig Freeman, Rachel Blair, and Esera Tuaolo

Thank you, Esera Tuaolo! 

In February, former NFL player  Esera Tuaolo hosted a  Super Bowl Inclusion Party, sponsored by Adidas. The party brought the LGBT and NFL communities closer together and raised financial support for anti-bullying, diversity and educational organizations. In March, Esera's organization, Hate is Wrong, presented Avenues with a $10,000 check. Thank you for your support! Click here to learn more about the Super Bowl Inclusion Party.  

Dreaming about the Future: Education and Employment at Avenues 

In 2015 we deepened our commitment to education and employment support by hiring a full time, on-site Education and Career Specialist. Staff member Sarah Larsen was promoted to this position in December. 

"Many of our youth spend two hours a day getting to school on a city bus. Until they came to Avenues, many were sleeping on that bus," Sarah said about barriers homeless youth face in completing their education. "It's challenging for a young person to think about their future, especially when they're used to thinking about where they're going to sleep tomorrow." 

When a youth enters our programs, Sarah meets with them to talk about their goals. She hopes to help youth develop a three step, five-year plan. The plan starts by helping the youth dream about where they want to be in the future.

" Most young people don't have a vision of having a career rather than a job, and for many youth, they've been told certain jobs are for them, like working in a warehouse," Sarah said. "I ask them if they want to be doing that for the rest of their life, and most often they say no." 

Sarah said that after a couple of meetings, youth start dreaming about their long-term career dreams such as being a business owner or a general manager. Together they then start identifying steps to make that happen. 

"The youth and I identify what they can be doing in the next three months, like an internship or training program. We identify what they can do for the next year to help pay for things like college. Then I ask them what they can see them self doing in the next five years, and what steps they'll take to get there," Sarah said.
Avenues' education and career support is funded by ECMC, Sundance Family Foundation, and the Douglas and Carol Skanse Family Foundation. Thank you for making dreams possible.

Youth Homelessness in Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center 

Last month community members of Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center joined Avenues for a panel discussion on the state of youth homelessness. Despite Brooklyn Avenues opening in 2015, youth homelessness persists in the community. Panelists stressed the importance of mental health services for youth overcoming trauma, and the need for more affordable housing supports.

Thank you to the panelists Craig Enevoldsen,  Lindsey Horowitz,  Chandler Jayasekera, and  Hanie, and thank you Cindy Shevlin-Woodcock for moderating the panel.