March 2017 ENews
Beau's New Life: A Tale of Moving Forwad

I was adopted when I was 5 years old. I had seizures and my real parents didn’t want to deal with my health problems so they gave me up to an orphanage somewhere. I lived in Mississippi with my adoptive mom and dad and 15 other adopted kids. We lived in a middle class environment. My mom kicked people out or they moved out once they were old enough. I left with my sister when I was 18 and came to Minnesota. She wanted to come here to live with her boyfriend. I lived with them in Fridley from June of 2016 until September. My sister wanted me to get a job and work to pay the bills. I struggled with the work and my brother-in-law told me to go to give blood to make money. I walked two hours there and they said I had low blood pressure. I told them I had seizures in the past so they said I couldn’t give blood. I walked two hours all the way back home and told my brother-in-law I couldn’t give blood. He said "how are you going to pay for your rent?" I said I didn’t know and I told him I wanted to kill myself because nobody actually cared about me. They called the police to get me to leave. I left with my backpack and they put my stuff outside. I banged on the door and begged them to let me in and I was angry.  The ambulance came and took me to the hospital because I was trying to stab myself. I wanted to give up on life because nobody cared about me or wanted me around. I was in the hospital for a week and at the end of my stay, I was given a taxi ride to SteppingStone shelter.

I was afraid to go to SteppingStone, but it helped me. They told me about HOPE 4 Youth and I went there. I was shy and when I walked in, I was nervous. I met Naomi. She sat with me and asked me questions and said they could help me. My favorite thing about HOPE 4 Youth is the people. The stuff that they provide to you is nice, but more than that, how people help you not give up and see to it that you move forward. During this time, I did my assessment at SteppingStone and they told me it was for me to get into housing.

I remember the day I was able to come to HOPE Place. Eddie told me that I was accepted and I was in shock. I said “For real?” The day I walked in the door the first time, I was so excited that this was where I was going to change, grow up and be responsible and do what I have to do to succeed in life. I was ready to become the person I am today. I have goals to graduate high school on June 1st and then go to college to be a Certified Nursing Assistant.

I set goals when I first got to HOPE Place. I wanted to get glasses and I did. I wanted to go to school every day and just got an award for perfect attendance since living here. I want to take my driver's permit test in June. I’ve been working out every day in the fitness room. I used to eat a lot and now I eat better, and have lost 30 pounds in the past few months.

HOPE Place helps me to better understand about adults, how to communicate and reach my goals. They hold me accountable and care about me. They want all of us to succeed and help us with whatever we need. If I didn’t go to school, I know staff would talk to me, so I go. The Connexus Community Room is great. It’s helping me learn how to play with others. I love foosball and have fun watching TV and communicating with others there. I am now willing to stand up and help others, I take out the garbage, talk about our past lives if they want to, respect each other- live like a family.

I want to thank the staff and volunteers. Thank you for helping us and being willing to spend time here and better understand how we communicate. I love playing cribbage with Katie and Stephanie, and cards with Pat, Brooke, Bailey, and others. I like to play Lisa and Daeona In foosball. Especially when I win. I also like meeting with Jenilee to plan my future. I hang out with Shane and he is my best friend. I met him at HOPE 4 Youth and we were the first two to move into HOPE Place. We play foosball together and cook and eat together. I am grateful for all I have now and the life I am working on.

In This Issue

Beau's New Life: A Tale of Moving Forward

Letter From the Executive Director

Help Us Keep a Roof Over the Heads of Homeless Youth

Inspiring HOPE Luncheon

HOPE 4 Youth Drop-In Center Update

HOPE Place Update

Program Partner Spotlight: Palladin Career and Technical High School

Community Partner Spotlight: DCI Custom Curb Adapters

Community Partners

Volunteer Spotlight: Fae Jones

Upcoming Events

Event Wrap-Up

How HOPE 4 Youth Helps

HOPE 4 Youth Needs

HOPE 4 Youth Staff

HOPE 4 Youth Board of Directors

Letter From the Executive Director

March is self-injury awareness month and homeless youth use cutting as a way to cope with the pain of their situation. To many adults, cutting is a foreign concept. Cutting is when a young person uses a sharp object like a razor blade, knife, or scissors to make marks, cuts, or scratches on their own body. It is a form of self-injury. It can be hard to understand why anyone would hurt themselves on purpose. Learning that your own teen or a young person you know is doing it can leave you feeling shocked and upset  and not sure what to do or how to help.

The first thing to try to understand about cutting is that it is an attempt to take their emotional pain and make it physical, because physical pain is easier to cope with. Most of the time, cutting is not a suicide attempt.

In my career, I have mentored several youth who were cutters. I've learned a lot about this topic over the years - probably more than I wanted to know at times. It's scary to find out that someone you care about is doing this to themselves. By coping with your own feelings, learning about cutting, finding professional help, and just being there to love and believe in them, you'll provide the support they need.

One thing that always helped me when a young person I was mentoring told me they cut on themselves, is around word choice. Inside all I wanted do was shake them and yell "stop that! Why would you want to do that?" Instead, saying "how did that go for you?" allowed the negativity about it to come out of their mouth, not mine. The response is usually something like "yeah, it wasn't really that great" or "I don't want to do that again".

If you know or suspect that your teen is cutting, it's natural to feel a whole range of emotions. You could feel surprised, sad, mad, disappointed, confused, or scared. You might feel hurt that they didn't come to you for help or you may even feel guilty that you didn't know about it. All of these emotions are completely understandable and we all feel them when we find out one of our HOPE 4 Youth clients are cutters. If you ever have the need to talk to someone or need a referral for help, please feel free to reach out to us here. We get it and we are always here.

Help Us Keep a Roof Over the Heads of Homeless Youth 
In December 2016, HOPE 4 Youth opened the doors to HOPE  Place, the first transitional housing for homeless youth ages 18-24  in the north metro suburbs. Ten young people are already calling
HOPE Place home, with the last two youth moving in soon,  while they work to leave their status of homeless in the past.

On their journey to become independent adults, the youth will face  many obstacles and we will be here to help them overcome each  one. However, HOPE 4 Youth is currently facing an obstacle that we  need your help to overcome. HOPE Place needs a new roof.

When we first began construction on HOPE Place, we were told that  the roof would need to be replaced in two to three years. The early  Spring thaw showed us that this was not the case and that a new  roof is needed as soon as possible. Work is underway, but we need  to raise $87,000 for it to be completed. Please help us Raise the
Roof so that we can keep a roof over the heads of homeless youth by making a donation today at

Questions? Contact Lisa Jacobson, Executive Director,  at 763.323.2066, ext. 107 or
Please join us for our inaugural Inspiring HOPE Luncheon to support young people experiencing homelessness right here in our community, the North Metro Twin Cities. This is your opportunity to hear first-hand from several of the young people and learn about how you can inspire them to move past their status of homeless and achieve the future that they have always dreamed of.

There is no cost to attend, but there will be an opportunity to make a gift at the end of the hour.
When • Thursday, May 4, 2017; 11:30 a.m. Registration, Noon – 1 p.m. Luncheon
Where • Leopold’s Mississippi Gardens
9500 West River Road, Brooklyn Park, MN
Register • Please contact Lisa Jacobson, at or 763.234.0315.

There are several opportunities to promote your business by being a sponsor. Please see the Sponsorship Packet to learn more.
HOPE 4 Youth Drop-In Center Update
  • On February 28, we said goodbye to our fabulous case manager, Naomi. Naomi's passion for the young people that she worked with allowed many of them to see that they could overcome whatever they face to have a brighter future, one where they are no longer homeless. We will miss Naomi's energy, enthusiasm and smile, as well as her wealth of knowledge about LGBTQ youth and youth homelessness. We wish her all the best with her new role, Sexual Assault Advocacy Program Coordinator, at the Sexual Violence Center!

  •  There is at least one service/resource provider on-site at the Drop-In Center every day. These providers are here to work with the youth and help them figure out what they need to do next. This past month we focused on Wellness Wednesday to remind the youth to take care of their health. Providers for Wellness Wednesday included Livio at HOPE Clinic, MNSure which helped the youth navigate and enroll in health insurance, a massage therapist who offered chair massages and others who heal the mind, body and soul. Thank you to every provider who takes time to meet the young people where they are at!

  • Our Housing Heroes have started their work of making sure that any youth who is moving from homeless to housed has what they need in their new home. The team coordinates collecting all the household supplies and furniture - everything from ice trays to dishes to beds - and moves them into the young person's new place. The goal for this year is to move one youth in every month and when that happens this team will be there to help them. If you're interested in being part of Housing Heroes, please contact Sara, Director of Programs & Properties, at

  • If you've visited the Drop-In Center lately then you've probably noticed that the digital billboard is running! The billboard reminds the youth which providers are on-site each day and about any upcoming outside events that they might benefit from. The billboard also includes information about quitting smoking, stress management,  healthy eating, etc. It is a fantastic addition for a generation who lives in the digital age! Thanks to the SHIP grant and the grant from Allina to make it happen!

  • Several of the young people who are living at HOPE Place have been visiting the Drop-In Center as well; a few of the youth who live at HOPE Place were clients at the Drop-In Center before moving into HOPE Place. The youth have been able to access the clothing closets, visit the food pantry and even get hair cuts. One young person just wanted to eat dinner with some of his friends at the Drop-In Center. It is a huge benefit to have the Drop-In Center available to supplement the youths' needs.
HOPE Place Update
  • There are now ten young people living at HOPE Place, with two more moving in soon. All of them are busy working on their goals so that they can become an independent adult. 

  • The Spring Lake Park - Blaine - Mounds View Fire Dept. and the Coon Rapids MN Fire Department recently cooked dinner with the youth at HOPE Place. Not only did they teach them how to prepare a healthy meal, but also about safety while cooking. The meal was delicious - enjoyed by everyone! The youth are definitely looking forward to next month's lesson.

  • Jenilee, Senior Vocational Counselor with the Anoka County Workforce Center, continues to work with the youth on Tuesdays and Thursdays, She has helped several of them figure out their educational goals and the next steps to complete their GED or High School Diploma. Other youth have been working with her to find work experience through employer placements with Anoka County. These young people will learn life skills on the job. We are so fortunate to have Jenilee at HOPE Place!

  • MNSure and Anoka County Services have also been on-site at HOPE Place. They will be there every two weeks to help the youth living their with health insurance, SNAP assistance and other resources that may be available to them.
Program Partner Spotlight: Paladin Career and Technical High School 
HOPE 4 Youth and Paladin Career & Technical High School partner to support the young people that we both serve. Paladin is a public charter high school serving kids in grades 9-12, many of whom visit our Drop-In Center. 

To ensure that we are able to meet their needs, HOPE 4 youth staff visit Paladin on a weekly basis. Naomi, our former case manager, met with the youth to not only discuss homelessness, but also healthy relationships, coping skills, etc. The young people will miss Naomi, but they will quickly build a relationship of trust with Sara when she begins visiting next week. HOPE 4 Youth has also offered the youth easy access to their tangible needs including providing them with food, clothing and personal hygiene items.

Paladin has removed one of the major barriers to the youth visiting the Drop-In Center, transportation. They offer transportation to the Drop-In Center and back to Paladin before the school day is over. This shows how they always put the well-being of their students first. 

Paladin staff, family and friends also supported HOPE 4 Youth by participating in The Darkest Night of Your Life 4K in September 2016 and we are looking forward to seeing them at the 4K this year.

Thank you for partnering with us to make a difference in the lives of young people in our community!
Community Partner Spotlight: CDI Custom Curb Adapters
On a cold day in January, our executive director met one of the owners of CDI Curbs, Bobbi Jo O'Brien, for coffee. She wanted to thank Bobbi Jo for her continued support of HOPE 4 Youth. Every month a $400 gift is given by them online that is used to fill our refrigerator in the Drop-In Center with healthy, perishable items. Each week, our volunteer Jan Anderson, shops for the groceries to fill the fridge, spending around $100. Salads, fresh fruit, snacking vegetables, yogurt, milk, lunch meat and cheese make this refrigerator the greatest welcome for every homeless young person that comes through our door. 

After that coffee meeting, Bobbi Jo went back to work and talked with others. They chose HOPE 4 Youth as their CDI Connects Charity for the month of March and opted to hold a Wall of HOPE with all monies raised to go towards the Raise the Roof Campaign. Employees are giving between $1 and $100 and CDI Curbs will match every dollar! We couldn't do this work without partners like CDI Curbs! On behalf of our youth, THANK YOU!
Community Partners
Volunteer Spotlight: Fae Jones
Fae remembers first reading about the grassroots movement to create HOPE 4 Youth in the Anoka County Shopper and how she felt humbled by the way everyday people learned about an unmet need and did something. For a long time Fae did nothing. Then Linda Dieken (one of those amazing early starters, as Fae calls her) invited a HOPE 4 Youth representative to speak to a committee meeting at her church. Hearing the stories of the precious young people touched the "mom" part of her heart and she knew it was time for her to get involved!

Fae began volunteering by bringing an occasional meal to the Drop-In Center. That turned into her serving as the point person at her church for providing one or more meals each month. Her goal is to always have 1-3 first-timers help with the meal so that they become more aware of HOPE 4 Youth and the work we do. In December, Fae answered the call for volunteers at HOPE Place and has been volunteering for several weekday morning shifts and mid-day shifts, when needed. She describes her experience as, "very rewarding to know that you've had a chance to encourage these young people simply by treating them with unconditional respect."

Through her volunteering at the Drop-In Center and HOPE Place, Fae has learned to be truly grateful for her many blessings as well as to do whatever she can to bless others-without judging or expectations. She shared that "you don't always see the "fruit of your labor" but you never know how a small seed of hope is planted when you share a genuine smile, a word of encouragement or a delicious hot meal. Many of the youth have hurdles that most of us could never imagine and it is heartwarming to see them make progress toward goals like finishing high school, applying for jobs and feeling proud of their accomplishments in spite of the obstacles."

Fae also has these words with the youth, "Look around you at HOPE Place or the Drop-In Center. Each one represents thousands of people investing of their time and money because they believe in you and your value. Take advantage of every opportunity to learn and grow.  Someday you will be empowered to help others by sharing your story of courage and determination to overcome and succeed against all odds."

Fae, on behalf of HOPE 4 Youth staff, volunteers and the young people that we serve, we'd like to say that we are the ones who are truly blessed that you have chosen to be part of our family. Thank you for all that you do!
Upcoming Events
  • Annual Spaghetti Dinner
    THIS SUNDAY, March 19; 3-6 p.m.
    Coon Rapids VFW (1919 Coon Rapids Blvd NW in Coon Rapids)
    Join us at our annual Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser. Tickets can be purchased online at or at the door.
    Questions? Contact Pam Harer, HOPE 4 Youth Community Impact Committee Chair, at

  • Espresso Yourself
    Friday, April 22, 7-9 p.m.
    Chain of Lakes Church (10130 Davenport St. Ne #160 in Blaine)
    Espresso Yourself is a concert series featuring local music, arts and high quality espresso!
    Questions? Visit

  • NEW EVENT: Inspiring HOPE Luncheon
    Thursday, May 4; 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
    Mississippi Gardens (9500 West River Road in Brooklyn Park)
    A free luncheon in support of HOPE 4 Yout. This is your chance to hear how 
    HOPE 4 Youth has changed lives by our work.
    estions or to register? Contact Lisa Jacobson, Executive Director, at

  • Pizza Ranch Fundraiser
    Monday, June 19; 5-9 p.m.
    Pizza Ranch in Andover
    This Community Impact Fundraiser donates 10% of the proceeds as well as all of the tips back to HOPE 4 Youth.
    Questions? Contact Pam Harer, HOPE 4 Youth Community Impact Committee Chair, at

  • Heartland Tire Classic Golf Tournament
    Monday, August 21; 11:30 a.m.
    Edinburgh USA Golf Course (
    8700 Edinbrook Crossing in Brooklyn Park)
    The Heartland Tire Classic Golf Tournament raises funds for the mortgage of HOPE Place. More information will be available soon.

  • The Darkest Night of Your Life 4K
    Saturday, September 23; 8-11 p.m.
    Bunker Hills Golf Club (12800 Bunker Prairie Road NW in Coon Rapids)
    The Darkest Night of Your Life 4K is an annual event that supports HOPE Place. Please visit for more information.

    Saturday, October 7, 2017
    More information will be available soon.

To learn more about upcoming events, click here.

Event Wrap-Up
The Anoka High School DECA Club held their annual prom dress fashion show last month and raised $1,093.38 for HOPE 4 Youth! We want to thank these young people - and everyone who attended - for showing that they are the change we want to see in the world. 

Mint Salon & Spa raise more than $650 for HOPE 4 Youth at their annual Galentine's Day in February; an evening to promote women business owners while providing women a few hours to treat themselves. They also collected personal hygiene items, clothing and food for the youth that we serve.

Thank you to the sponsors and vendors who made this possible - Mint Salon & Spa, LulaRoe (Kya Anderson), Bath Bomb Mom, Advocare, JAK Beauty, Massage For Health, Jamberry, Rodan and Fields, Moxie Malas, Muddy Paws Cheesecake, BeautyCounter, YMCA, Shape Me Studios, Down Under Liquor, Isagenix (Karee Smith), Natural Wonders Childcare, Evellyn's Cottage, Subway, Desiree Larson Phillips and Green Mill.

How HOPE 4 Youth Helps
Here at HOPE 4 Youth, we work hard to address both the immediate and long-term issues that young people experiencing homelessness face each and every day.

Last year, 732 young people (ages 23 and under) came through our Drop-In Center doors. We helped these young people by meeting their most basic needs such as: a nutritious meal, food from our food pantry, basic hygiene products, clothes from our clothing closets, a hot shower and laundry facilities.Then we put them on a path towards a bright future by securing housing, finding jobs, finishing school and accessing on-site health and wellness services.

When the doors of the Drop-In Center close, many of the youth find themselves couch-hopping or back on the streets. We knew that we had to do something to address this and in December 2016 we opened the doors to HOPE Place, the first transitional housing for youth in Anoka County. Ten young people are already calling HOPE Place home while they develop the skills needed to leave their status of homelessness behind them. 
HOPE 4 Youth Needs
Without support from our generous community, we would not be able to help the homeless young people that we serve, especially meeting their basic needs.

There are many opportunities to help meet their needs and donating items is one way of doing so. Currently, our shelves are fully stocked so if you are considering donating items, please check our current  Needs  as well as our   Amazon Wish List  which includes items for the Drop-In Center and HOPE Place that provides budget relief. Items can be dropped-off at our Donations Center on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9 a.m.-noon. The Donations Center is located at 2664 4th Avenue N, Anoka, MN; look for the HOPE 4 Youth sign by the wooden ramp.

While you're at it, why not get your network involved by holding a donation drive? You could ask for items on our Needs List and Amazon Wish List or cash and gift cards. To learn more about donation drives, contact our Donations Drives Lead, Marina, at

P.S. Keep in mind that we are always in need of monetary donations so that we can keep the doors of the Drop-In Center and HOPE Place open. Instead of purchasing items, why not consider directly donating the money at If you make a donation of $50, you will be supporting one youth who visits the Drop-In Center, in need of resources and services, for the entire month of March!

Lisa Jacobson Executive Director

Joyce Finch Development Associate

Cheri Halek Community Engagement Manager

Sara Kemp Director of Programs & Properties

Jane Schipper Finance Manager

Kristin VanHeel Marketing & Comm. Director

Eddie R. Case Manager

Barb Justbarb Receptionist

Linda Burt HOPE Place Admin. Support

Brooke Limanen HOPE Place Admin. Support
Board of Directors
Susan VanVoorhis Chair
Assoc. V.P. & Univ. Reg., University of Minnesota

Sue Woodard Vice Chair
President and CEO, Vantage Production

Sarah Nohner Treasurer
Financial Controller,  Graco 

Katherine Wagoner Secretary
Di r. of Membership Engagement,  Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless

Paul Ekstrom
President, The Paul Ekstrom Realty Team 

Na'im Madyun
Assoc. Dean of Undergraduate & Diversity Programs, University of Minnesota

Paula Rak
Senior V.P.,  Wells Fargo

John Sitarz
Sr. Financial Services Rep., Principal Financial Group

Jerry Streich
Fire Chief & Emergency Management Dir., City of Andover

James Stuart
Anoka County Sheriff

Brian Swanson Past Chair
V.P. of Quality & Enterprise Excellence, NACS, Inc.

2665 4th Avenue North | Suite 40 
Anoka, Minnesota 55303