AveNEWS August 2018

6,000 youth in Minnesota won't have a stable home tonight. 
Together we can help. 

Upcoming Events
Every third Thursday of the month Avenues is hosting an open house and conversation at both shelters. Anyone is invited to come - we promise you'll leave feeling inspired and learn about youth homelessness. This is not a fundraiser but an opportunity to learn more about our work. 
More information here. 
Wish List

We're running low on sheets, pillows and bedding. Can you help welcome a youth into our programs by donating these items? Click here to shop our Amazon Wish List. 
This Month 

Thank you Backpack Project MN for giving each of our youth going back to school a backpack and supplies! 

Avenues was one of the nonprofits Boston Scientific volunteered at during their volunteer week. Over 30 volunteers cleaned, weeded, mulched our yards and helped clean the house. Boston Scientific donated new plants and native grasses to spruce up our yard too. Thank you so much! 

In honor of Pride, Minnesota United auctioned their Pride jerseys to benefit Avenues, raising over $4,000 for our programs. Go Loons! 

Shrey inspires us every time he stops in! He is one of Avenues' longest and youngest supporters. He started donating towels to Avenues when he was just four years old. Now 15 years old, Shrey collects nearly 1,000 towels a year and completely covers Avenues' towel needs. Thank you, Shrey! 

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  Avenues for Homeless Youth

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

It seems like only yesterday I was writing to you about the first barbecue of the season at Avenues and here is fall, right around the corner. It has been a great summer. Meals centered around delicious fruits and vegetables grown by youth, staff, and our amazing garden volunteers. A number of youth living in host homes had the opportunity to go camping, while youth at Minneapolis and Brooklyn Avenues enjoyed some fun field trips. Participants in the Avenues for Young Families program were matched with mentors who will be a great source of support and connection.

And now, back to school! In this issue, Kia's story poignantly illustrates the barriers and challenges youth experiencing homelessness must overcome to achieve their educational and career dreams. Congratulations to Kia and all Avenues' youth as you head to college, high school, and career training options this fall. As the sign by the front door at Minneapolis Avenues says "You got this!"

Thank you friends and supporters for making this success possible for our young people. You can join us in celebrating back-to-school by raising a "Big Deal" at Wicked Wort. Hope to see you there!


Katherine Meerse, Ph.D. 
Executive Director 

Congratulations Kia! 

This month staff said goodbye to *Kia, a young woman who has lived in and out of shelters her whole life. She's been at Minneapolis Avenues since December, and just moved to Los Angeles to start her freshman year of college. We're proud to share that she received  scholarships and tuition assistance to cover all her tuition and housing. Below is her story. 

"I've never felt stable. I've lived everywhere. I've done a lot of moving in my life.  My mom works all the time. She's never home, she does her own thing. 

My sisters would come over to our house and leave their kids with me so I couldn't go to school. I'd be stuck watching their babies.  I felt like it was a generational curse. Poverty plays a role in it. 

Abuse, anger, hate rage - it's not like I've always felt unsafe in my home, but at that I point in my life I didn't feel safe. I needed to get out. If I didn't get out I wouldn't have had the opportunities I have today. I would be repeating the cycle.

I called Avenues on December 21, stayed in the emergency bed that night, and the next day when I was at school I got a phone call from Miss Sheila saying that there was a place for me at Avenues. I was just like oh thank you Jesus. Sometime you don't understand why but it works out.

My time here, oh my goodness, I just thank God for the opportunity. The resources here are great. The therapist was really cool. There was always food in the refrigerator. That surprised me. I've never starved, but I remember times not having enough food. I could cook whenever I wanted to at Avenues.

I've lived in shelters multiple times. I know what they feel like. It feels like chaos, cold and wet. Avenues was warm. It felt like home. God had a reason - everything happens for a reason."

*The youth's name has been changed. 
Youth Homelessness: It's A Big Deal! 

For two weeks, Wicked Wort Brewing Company in Robbinsdale is donating $2 of every "The Big Deal" beer sold to Avenues! Stop in for a beer and good times between September 7-21 to support Avenues.  Check out the flyer here.

On Saturday, September 15th, Avenues and Pickles Catering will be at Wicked Wort for a Beer and Slider night. A family friendly (all ages welcome) slider bar will be held in the basement of Wicked Wort. The slider bar is $10 a person and supports Avenues. 
Thank You, Solid Gold Members 

Since spring of last year,  Solid Gold bandmates Matt Locher,  Zack Coulter and  Adam Hurlburt  have been donating their time and talent to create Power of Love, a music compilation benefiting Avenues. Ryan Berg, Avenues' ConneQT Host Home Program Manager, reached out to the band with the compilation idea to raise funds and awareness for LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness. A year later, and many volunteer hours later, the compilation launched this summer

"We had a wish list of friends who we knew were sympathetic to promoting good causes," Matt said about the 10 track album. "We probably asked about 50 bands to participate and only had a 10% success rate. The whole process in terms of finding bands is difficult. If a band just released an album it can be difficult for them to provide a track for another project." 

Matt said that the project inspired the band due to helping those experiencing homelessness, especially LGBTQ youth. 

"So many of our friends and family are part of the LGBTQ community," Matt said. "We felt particularly strong about trying to help. As progressive as Minneapolis is, a cause like this always needs more help. Homelessness in general is an issue that is glossed over." 

Not only did Solid Gold create an original song for the album and gather artists, Matt also set up the back end of the album on online platforms. Matt said he and the other bands were just happy to help. 

"Not all the artists are in a position to donate money," he explained. "So if the only currency we have is songs, and that's something that's able to raise money, then that's the best we can do. It's a wonderful thing. It's creating something. It's almost more powerful than if the bands just donated $100 bucks. It's lasting." 

Thank you, Solid Gold!