AveNEWS February 2018: Celebrating Brooklyn Avenues

Celebrate Brooklyn Avenues' anniversary by making a donation to the program. 

Upcoming Events
Interest in learning more about Avenues? 

Individuals and groups are welcome to take a tour of our shelters from 5:30 -6:30 pm at the following times:
March 7: Brooklyn Avenues
April 4: Minneapolis Avenues 

Tours are by appointment only. Contact Craig Freeman to schedule your tour at 612-844-2005 or by email
Join us on May 1, 2018 for our fifth annual Building on Dreams Breakfast! Learn about Avenues' youth and how you can build and support their dreams. More details and registration here.

Sponsorship opportunities are now available for Building on Dreams.  Your sponsorship will help inspire over 300 guests to support youth in building their dreams.  Click here for more details.
This Month 

Avenues was awarded a grant to bring four disciplines of arts programming to our youth. Stay tuned for more updates, but we're excited to start arts programming next month. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.  

Thank you Brooklyn Park Fire Department for supporting Brooklyn Avenues through your annual raffle donation! 

Shout out to Allstate PRIDE Twin Cities and Helping Hands for the 50 gift cards and Valentine's Day cards for our youth.

Thank you Northfield United Methodist Church  for helping to replenish our in-kind closet after the flood at Minneapolis Avenues!

Thank you First Universalist Church of Minneapolis for creating handmade Valentine's for our staff. 
Thank you St. Croix Preparatory Academy for hosting a donation drive for Avenues!
Witness Black History, a BBC Podcast

Racial Equity Is Essential To Preventing And Ending HomelessnessGiving Compass 
Help! Replenish our in-Kind supplies after the Flood
In January a pipe burst at Minneapolis Avenues, flooding our home. Luckily, none of the youth bedrooms were affected, but our in-kind closet was flooded. 

Will you help? Click here for a printable list or our in-kind needs. 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! Contact Craig for more information. 
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  Avenues for Homeless Youth

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

We are delighted to celebrate the 3rd anniversary of the opening of Brooklyn Avenues. While Avenues for Homeless Youth operates Brooklyn Avenues, we know that Brooklyn Avenues really belongs as much to you, the community, as it does to us. Brooklyn Avenues would not exist without your vision that created it and your support that keeps it thriving.

The youth we support at Brooklyn Avenues invite us to go with them on their journey for a time and we are so proud of what they have accomplished. The staff who go on that journey with them do an amazing job of meeting youth where they are, mentoring them, and giving them opportunities to grow and develop.

We owe special thanks to many committed supporters and partners, especially:
  • The cities and mayors of Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center
  • The Brooklyn Area faith communities 
  • The Elks, the Lions Clubs, and the Rotary clubs of Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center
  • CEAP 
  • The Brooklyn Avenues Action Council 
  • Our many wonderful donors and volunteers
Thank you all for coming together to help youth build on their dreams!


Katherine Meerse, Ph.D. 
Executive Director 

Above: Brooklyn Avenues' Grand Opening from January 2015

Reflecting on Brooklyn Avenues' Third Anniversary 

Donnell Bratton, Brooklyn Avenues' Program Manager, reflects on Brooklyn Avenues' third anniversary:

What memory sticks out from last year at Brooklyn Avenues?  Seven Brooklyn Avenues youth graduated last year - that's big. To have 11 youth in the house and seven of them graduate from public high school and earn a high school diploma, not GED, that's big. 

What do you hope to accomplish at Brooklyn Avenues this year? A lot of young people exit our program every year, and some of them are earning a livable wage. I want to build relationships with local landlords so that those youth can save at Avenues and then move into their own apartments. It's difficult to find affordable housing, so we need to have connections with landlords.

What has inspired you this year at Brooklyn Avenues? 
Our team has really come together. Staff are not here for a job. They're here for the success of the youth. The teams' commitment speaks to our passion for young people.
Hawa's, a Brooklyn Avenues' youth, journey from homelessness to stability. Click above to watch the video. 

Your Impact in Brooklyn Center and Brooklyn Park   

Since Brooklyn Avenues opened in February 2015, it has been home or emergency shelter to over 250 youth experiencing homelessness, the majority of whom come from Brooklyn Center and Brooklyn Park. 
In 2017, Brooklyn Avenues supported 107 young people with shelter and holistic services. Of the youth that moved out of the program, 81% moved into stable housing. 

The board pictured above is hung in Brooklyn Avenues' living room. It reads, "Gratitude: What are you thankful for today?"

As you can see our youth are thankful for many different things. Look closely, and you'll see that a few youth have written "Avenues." This warms our hearts, and we want to thank the community for making this possible. Brooklyn Avenues would not exist without the support of donors and volunteers who care about our community's young people. We are grateful for you!

Volunteers of the Month: Jack Woodcock and Cindy Shevlin - Woodcock 

"When we were first married, we heard the quote, The children of the world are all of our children. It really resonated with us," said Cindy Shevlin-Woodcock on why she and her husband, Jack Woodcock, volunteer at Brooklyn Avenues. 

The couple have been volunteering for Brooklyn Avenues before the shelter was even created, and have been supporting youth experiencing homelessness throughout their lives. They learned first hand about youth homelessness when their children were in high school. 

"Our kids would sometimes call and say I've got a friend who needs a place to sleep," Cindy explained. "So we had kids staying with us over night, for a few days, or for a few months."

They learned more about youth homelessness in Brooklyn Park during a presentation by Pastor Rachel Morey, who was an early advocate for Brooklyn Avenues. Soon after that meeting the community came together to build Brooklyn Avenues. Jack, Cindy and their church, The Church of St. Gerard Majella, have been involved with Brooklyn Avenues since those early conversations.

Jack and Cindy have volunteered in almost every capacity at Brooklyn Avenues - cooking meals, cleaning, managing our annual holiday gift wrapping, and even helping pick out paint colors for the house. Cindy also serves on the Brooklyn Avenues Action Council, helping with fundraising efforts in Brooklyn Park. They also participate in St. Gerard's Youth Homelessness Project. 

"Our goal is to ultimately help the community understand homelessness. This is our community. You should always try to make it better," Cindy said. 

On behalf of the staff and youth at Avenues, thank you Jack and Cindy for your volunteerism and commitment to Brooklyn Avenues!