AveNEWS November 2017
With your support, more than 300 homeless youth will find safety and support at Avenues this year! Donate to help homeless youth move from surviving 
to thriving!   

Announcing 2018 Board Roster 
Chuck Tombarge, President
Chief Public Relations Officer, University of Minnesota

Rhamy Magid, MD 
Vice President
Pediatrician, Hennepin County Medical Center

Kojo Baafi, Treasurer
Vice President of Internal Audit, Pentair

Erin Campbell, Secretary
Assistant Commissioner, Minnesota Department of Administration

Eric Anderson
Director of Stewardship, The Minneapolis Foundation

Paul Blom 
Owner and CEO, Right at Home Twin Cities

Sara Blood 
Communications and Event Planning Consultant 

Robert J. Brandt 
Ombudsperson/Vice Provost, Walden University

Corey Falls
Business Development Manager, MyTech

Rachelle Haroldson, PhD
Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin-River Falls

Jenny Javitch, MSW, LGSW
Director of Education & Enrichment, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities

Alexis Kantor
Vice President of Product Development and Raw Materials, Target

Natalie Johnson Lee 
Director, Girls in Action and Principal Consultant

Kate Nilan Uding
General Counsel, Luther Automotive Group

Godson Sowah
Advisory Consultant, Ernst & Young
We're Hiring
Avenues is hiring several Youth Support Specialist Positions. Click here to see all of our job postings.
ED Search Update
Watch for an announcement soon introducing Avenues' new Executive Director!
Upcoming Events
Dream Tours 
Attend a one hour Dream Tour, and we'll answer your questions about youth homelessness while touring one of our three facilities. An Avenues' youth may co-lead the tour, depending on availability.  Individuals and groups are welcome. All tours are 5:30 -6:30 pm.
December 6: Minneapolis Avenues
February 7: Brooklyn Avenues 

Dream tours are by appointment only. Contact Craig Freeman to schedule your tour at 612-844-2005 or by email
Can You Help Make the Holidays a Little Brighter for Our Youth? 
The holidays are right around the corner and we're looking for volunteers to help us receive and wrap gifts. Brookdale Covenant Church has graciously allotted Avenues space in the church to receive, store, and wrap gifts donated to our youth. We welcome all ages of volunteers to help us this holiday season.

If you would like to contribute gifts and supplies for our youth this holiday season, please click here for a list of gift ideas. We're also in need of wrapping supplies. 

When: December 9, 8 am - 4 pm
Where: Brookdale Covenant Church, 5139 Brooklyn Blvd, Brooklyn Center
Contact: Craig Freeman, 612-844-2005

All donations and wrapping supplies should be dropped off at Brookdale Covenant Church on Dec. 9. 
Gratitude this Month

Thank you Valley of Peace Lutheran Church and Thomson Reuters for collecting program supplies for Avenues youth! 

Thanks to Living Word Christian Center, Avenues received 25 packaged Thanksgiving dinners to be given to youth in aftercare and Avenues for Young Families. Thank you! 
Thank you Bosch Packaging for supporting Avenues at your chili cook-off this month! 
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
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Avenues for Homeless Youth
Administrative Offices:

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

A whole lot of memories and emotions are flowing through me as I sit down to write my final letter to you as Avenues' Executive Director. 

This will go down as the best "job" I've ever had. I use quotes because my time at Avenues has so rarely felt like work. What started as a short-term consulting gig in late 2007, turned into appointment as Avenues' Interim Executive Director in early 2008 to lead the organization through a transition. 

But the universe intervened and the short-term gig became a ten-year labor of love. Avenues became my family and my home. 

I've had the opportunity to work with and learn from the most remarkable staff and volunteers. I've been allowed to walk alongside extraordinary young people as they find stability and make their way to a brighter future. 

I am so grateful to each and everyone of you for supporting and believing in Avenues and our youth. And for supporting and believing in me. 

Together, we have accomplished a lot. We have expanded Avenues four-fold and deepened our services. Today, we provide truly life-changing shelter and support for more than 300 homeless youth every year. 

And through all that expanding and deepening, Avenues has remained strong and stable. That's because you - our community - supported Avenues. 

So, thank you. 

Deborah Loon
Executive Director 

PS. Keep up the good work because Avenues (and you) aren't done yet. Please join me in making a year-end contribution to Avenues for Homeless Youth.

Above: Ron Engh (Big Ron) and Allison Murphy 

In the Words of Our Youth: Working with Big Ron  

This month Ron Engh, a long time volunteer at Avenues, worked with Allison Murphy, Avenues' Maintenance Technician, to get ready to repaint youth bedrooms at Minneapolis Avenues. Several youth became interested in the wall repair project, and decided to help. One youth, "Little R," wanted to share his experience. The following is written by him. Youth names have been changed. 

To start, the volunteer's name is Ron, aka Big Ron. Helping Big Ron was fun even though it was a tedious task. Kev, Pete, Allison and I all got to help and learn the great art of wall repair.  

Big Ron's background and expertise make him a jack of all trades, master of none. Big Ron seemed like an expert to the youth that joined in doing the wall repairs. Wherever there were holes, we filled them with a plaster mud. S ome of the youth knew how to do it, like Pete and me.

Big Ron taught us the basics in wall repair, showing us how to fill in the holes, prepare the mud, keep it from getting too dry, and when to add water and how much. All that fun shit - the approach of how you hold the spreader.

We used a multi-direction approach to spread the mud. This means you lather it on one way then hit it in another way until you have less bumps. That was a very cool approach. Myself, Pete, Kev, and Allison all had the pleasure of learning. 

One thing that's good to know is that if you smash the mud mixing to keep is, as Big Ron says, "a consistency of peanut butter, " t hen it will lay in nice and smooth without having to do extra sanding work. 

Big Ron's been volunteering with Avenues for 5 years, and first started with organizing the clothing closet.  So it's cool that the youth stepped up and helped him with the walls, and it's dank that Big Ron has let the youth work with him. He is great with the youth and has gotten to be closer to some of them! 

Avenues has much to be thankful for this month. Whether you participated in one of our events, attended a Dream Tour, or gave a donation on Give to the Max Day - thank you for supporting our young people this National Homeless Youth Awareness Month. 

Little Italy's Nourishing Dreams Kick-Off
Thank you Mama Donato's Woodfired Pizza and Wicked Wort Brewing Co. for kicking off Nourishing Dreams this National Youth Homelessness Awareness Month! 

A special thank you to the sponsors who made the event possible: The Victor Donato Memorial Foundation, Bean There Coffee Shoppe, Pickle's Cafe & Catering, Robbinsdale Ambassador Scholarship Program, Mia Dorr's Premier Entertainment and to Anna Donato-Ghani  and Amanda Carlyle for their support!

Minnesota 6000 6K
Thank you to the 70 registrants who ran or walked in the Minnesota 6000! Congratulations to our race winners, Father Paul Shovelain and Samantha Swanson. 

A special thank you to the event planning team and sponsors who made the event possible:  Mill City Running, ASICS, Brent Haglund with Prince of Peace Lutheran Churchin Brooklyn Park, Mary Monsrud and Calvin Konop with Servant of Christ Lutheran Church, and Jon Brandon with Discover Church.

Nourishing Dreams 
Thank you to those who dined out on Nov. 8 to raise awareness and funds for Avenues! A special thank you to our fabulous Nourishing Dreams restaurants: 
Buona Sera RistoranteButter Bakery CafeCuppa JavaGalactic PizzaThe Herbivorous ButcherHola ArepaThe Malt Shop RestaurantSmack Shack North LoopTom Reid's Hockey City PubWilde Cafe & Spirits, and Workhorse Coffee Bar

Give to the Max 
Thank you to the 150+ donors who raised over $22,000 during Give to the Max, our Generosity Giants whose nominations led to a $7,000 gift, and  GiveMN.org  or putting on another great year of Give to the Max Day. Thank you for supporting our community's young people!
Just BEing Corner: 

The latest social justice learning event organized by our Just BEing Committee was a conversation with Dr. Rose Brewer, co-author of " The Color of Wealth: The Story Behind the U.S. Racial Wealth Divide"  and Professor in the University of Minnesota's Afro-American & African Studies Department.  

Dr. Brewer led a dozen staff and board members in a dialogue recently about the long history of discriminatory policies and practices that created and perpetuate the racial wealth divide in our country, specifically as they relate to housing and homelessness. The wealth divide started with outright slavery, of course, but continued with practices after slavery technically ended that kept former slaves from owning and farming their own land. More recently, unjust and unfair treatment through the GI Bill, redlining by lenders, restrictive covenants and more made it virtually impossible for most African Americans to become homeowners and build wealth like their White peers. 

The wealth divide continues today as measured by home ownership rates -- in the Twin Cities today, 75% of White (non-Hispanic) households own their home compared to just 24% of Black households. Other households of color fare better, but still lag behind White households at 39% owning their home.

We have a crisis in affordable housing today, tax policies that continue giving preferential treatment to homeowners, and racial disparities in income and access to credit. All this conspires to widen (not shrink!) the wealth divide. 

Dr. Brewer also encouraged us to look into work being done by United for a Fair Economy, an organization based in Boston that "challenges the concentration of wealth and power that corrupts democracy, deepens the racial divide and tears communities apart. We use popular economics education, trainings, and creative communications to support social movements working for a resilient, sustainable and equitable economy."

Thank you Dr. Brewer!
This mission of the Just BEing Committee is to transform the culture of Avenues through creating and sustaining anti-oppressive practices that challenge ourselves, our agency, our communities, and our systems to be understanding, whole, equitable, and Just.