HOPE 4 Youth ENews | October 2016
In Their Own Words: Stories of Homeless Young People
You may have heard a story of about a homeless young person from a family member, friend, coworker or other member of your community, but have you heard the story directly from the young person experiencing it? 

Every day we listen to the stories from young people experiencing homelessness so that we can help move them towards a brighter future, one where they are no longer homeless, but rather thriving as an independent adult with a place to lay their head at night. 

Don't take our word for it though- watch the video below to hear from the young people who walk through our doors each day in need of help ...

In This Issue

In their Own Words: Stories of Homeless Young People

Letter from the Executive Director: Changes with the Seasons

HOPE Place Update

Goodbye to Heather, Our Donor Development Manager

Program Corner: HOPE Clinic is Open!

Drop-In Center Program Highlights

Volunteer Spotlight: Ron Wolford

The Darkest Night of Your Life 4K


Community Partner Spotlight: ESA

Community Partners

Upcoming Events/Event Wrap-Up

HOPE 4 Youth is Hiring a Development Associate

How HOPE 4 Youth Helps

HOPE 4 Youth Needs: Donate Items

Staff & Board

Letter from the Executive Director: Change with the Seasons

Change. Whether we like it or not, change happens all the time. Seasons change. Fashions change (thank goodness)! Our kids grow up. We get older. Sometimes it’s hard to keep up. When I talk to people about change at HOPE 4 Youth, I often hear things like, “I feel like it's something new all the time." For most of us, change is difficult. I want to assure you that the changes we have made since I arrived eight months ago are not done for change sake. The changes have been made to create processes, to do case management differently for the good of our young people and to ultimately make things better and easier for everyone.

In this e-newsletter you will read about many amazing changes - like the addition of HOPE Place, HOPE Clinic, and new programs on our community calendar. We could not be making any of these changes without amazing volunteers and staff. I am grateful every day that I have a team around me that consistently change lives here. That part just keeps getting better and better! 

In service with you,

Lisa Jacobson

HOPE Place Update

The doors will soon open to our new transitional housing program, HOPE Place and the first 12 young people will be "home" for the first time in a long time. The cabinetry and woodwork is scheduled to be installed next week and after that we will be in the final stage of construction. The final stage is perhaps the most exciting because the building that we started with will now feel like home to not only the youth, but also the entire HOPE 4 Youth family who has supported this project. 

We continue to develop the programming that will move the young people from homeless to housed. Our partner, YouthLink is working to hire a case manager with transitional housing experience so that the youth receive the best guidance for their futures.

Even though HOPE Place will soon be open, we still have a lot of work to do. The final stretch also means that we need to raise the remaining funds. Reminderthe Pohlad Foundation has provided our community with a challenge. If we raise the final $100,000 towards construction of HOPE Place, then the Pohlad Foundation will match the funds dollar for dollar and give us another $100,000. Your gift today will be DOUBLED! 

Goodbye to Heather, Our Donor Development Manager

It is with mixed feelings that we said goodbye to Heather, our Donor Development Manager, this month. As many of you know, Heather had a beautiful baby girl, Addisyn, in August and she has decided to stay home with her. We are sad to see Heather leave, but know that she will always be part of the HOPE 4 Youth family just in a different role, as a volunteer.

Before becoming the Donor Development Manager, Heather was an intern at the Drop-In Center. She loved working with the youth; whether she was helping them learn independent living skills, offering advice or assisting with meeting their basic needs. 

She began her role as Donor Development Manager in May and was responsible for organizing grants, donor thank yous and more. Her role was integral to raising funds for both the Drop-In Center and HOPE Place so that we can continue the work that we do.

We will miss Heather and wish her all the best in her future.
Program Corner: HOPE Clinic is Open!

HOPE 4 Youth is NOW bringing healthcare DIRECTLY to the young people who walk through our doors. We are excited to announce that we have opened on-site, HOPE Clinic, at the Drop-In Center which allows us to meet the health and wellness needs of the youth.

Young people experiencing homelessness don't always put their health and wellness needs at the top of their priority list so many of the common conditions that they face - STDs, pregnancy, cold and flu, UTIs, minor injuries, skin rashes and infections, foot concerns, etc. - remain undiagnosed and untreated. That is why we are partnering with Livio Health Group every Wednesday from 3-5 p.m. to provide physical exams, medical screenings, comprehensive blood and lab tests, medication prescription, IV hydration, stitches, EKGs, X-Rays, ultrasounds, referrals to specialists and more. 

If the youth wish to visit the clinic, they simply make an appointment and are typically able to see a provider the same day. The youth do need to have health insurance/ medical assistance and our case managers are working hard to ensure that they are signed-up for it.

We are also partnering with Goodrich Pharmacy in Anoka to have prescription medications delivered to the Drop-In Center. Transportation to pick-up prescriptions was a concern of ours and Goodrich  stepped up to remove this barrier that the youth may face in treating their condition.

It is such a blessing to finally have HOPE Clinic available to the youth and we want to thank all the volunteers, staff and partners for making this dream a reality!

P.S. We will offer special incentives for the young people who visit the clinic. The first will be Pee for Pizza on Nov. 30. More information will be coming soon!

Drop-In Center Program Highlights
  • Our Director of Programs & Properties, Sara, has been working hard to ensure that we are able to help the youth find all housing options on the spectrum. Thanks to her efforts, HOPE 4 Youth will soon be a point of access for coordinated entry. Why is this important? We will now be able to screen the youth at the Drop-In Center, rather than referring them to other organizations, and track where they are on the list so that we can help them obtain housing that requires a coordinated entry assessment - transitional, supportive and county and state programs. 

  • Last week, Lisa, our Executive Director, and Sara, met with a couple who owns a rental property in our community. This couple understands the challenges that the youth face - no credit, no rental history and potentially past criminal records - and are willing to work through those barriers to house them. They will contact Sara when an apartment becomes available so that we have a chance to refer our youth. Currently, they have an apartment open at the end of November and we will fill this spot with one of our employed young people. This partnership could not have come at a better time, especially as the outside temperatures continue to drop.

  • Both Lisa and Sara attended the annual Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless Conference on October 10-12 in Rochester. The conference brings together providers from across the state of Minnesota to share best practices and support each other in the fight to end homelessness. Lisa was one of the presenters with Karrie Schaaf, a founder of HOPE 4 Youth and the Homeless Liaison from Anoka-Hennepin Schools. Their breakout session, called Making a Difference Together: How Front-Line Groups Can Work Together to End Youth Homelessness had great reviews: "Excellent speaker team and subject. Well done. Learned a lot!"

  • Case Manager, Eddie, continues his outreach in the community, focusing on Anoka and Northtown Mall. He provides homeless youth, that he encounters, with a basic survival kit, bus tokens, gift cards for a warm meal and referrals to HOPE 4 Youth as well as other organizations that can help them move from homeless to housed. 

  • Thanksgiving Hours: The Drop-In Center will be open on Thanksgiving, Nov. 24, and the day after Thanksgiving, Nov. 25, from 1-4 p.m. A hot Thanksgiving dinner will be served at 2 p.m. both days.  

  • Curious about what is happening at the Drop-In Center in November? Check out our Community Calendar to learn more.

Volunteer Spotlight: Ron Wolford

This month we are featuring a man who everyone at HOPE 4 Youth loves, whether they have spoken with him for two minutes or known him for years. Ron Wolford has been a mentor at HOPE 4 Youth since we opened our doors in 2013, and has lifted up every youth that has ever visited the Drop-In Center.

Ron was recently featured as WCCO's Good Neighbor and we want you to hear the words that one of his peers had to say about him for yourself.

Thank you Ron for all that you continue to do to transform the lives of homeless young people in our community.

On any given night, there are 4,000 homeless youth in Minnesota and many of them are in the north metro suburbs including all of Anoka County and parts of Hennepin County. When the darkness of night sets in, these youth are staying in shelters, couch-hopping or sleeping on the streets. More than 700 people experienced some of the same things as these young people – darkness, loneliness, cold and quiet – while they ran/walked 2.5 miles on September 30, 2016.

These participants did more than just bring awareness to the plight of these young people, they also raised approximately $45,000 to provide a new response for housing homeless youth in our community called HOPE Place. HOPE Place, HOPE 4 Youth’s new transitional housing in Coon Rapids, will bring the first 12 homeless young people home by the end of November this year!

Thank you to everyone who participated in the 4K as well as everyone who donated. You are shining a light in this darkness so that these young people have a brighter future to look towards.

The Darkest Night of Your Life 4K is an annual event that will support the operational expenses of HOPE Place. Please check our website soon for more info about next year's event.

Thank you to everyone who supported young people experiencing homelessness at the 2016 GALA 4 HOPE. This year's GALA raised nearly $130,000, which allows HOPE 4 Youth to continue “Building Tomorrows” for young people experiencing homelessness in the north metro Twin Cities.

The GALA helps support our work so that these young people have a tomorrow where they are able to leave their status of “homeless” behind them. Close your eyes and imagine these young people sleeping in their very own bed; something many of them may not have done for a long time, if ever. They are now safe, warm and secure, with a smile on their face. This is the tomorrow that we want for every single young person who walks through our doors. 

We also thank the GALA 4 HOPE Committee for the countless hours that they put in to make the event a success. 

For more information about next year's event, visit our website.

Community Partner Spotlight: ESA
ESA Minnesota has been a fabulous partner of ours for several months and the support that they have provided is allowing us to bring the first 12 homeless young people home.

They first shined a light for HOPE 4 Youth, literally, by illuminating the course for The Darkest Night of Your Life 4K. They purchased all the luminarias, decorated the bags and then lined the course so that the 4K participants had a guiding light in the darkness; symbolizing the role that HOPE 4 Youth plays in the lives of the youth.

They also spent a day putting together "welcome" baskets filled with many of the items that youth need when they get into an apartment at HOPE Place. 

This organization reminds us that with help from our community we can accomplish common goals. We will end youth homelessness in the future with partnerships like this!
Community Partners
Upcoming Events

  • The Boxcar Children
    Nov. 4,5,6
    Anoka Middle School for the Arts Theater
    Anoka Middle School for the Arts brings the classic children's book The Boxcar Children to life on the stage. You can learn more and purchase tickets here. HOPE 4 Youth speak at each performance and are there tabling during intermission.
  • Give to the Max
    Nov. 17, 2016 
    Online at GiveMN.org
    Give to the Max is an annual day of 24-hour online giving in Minnesota. Our Give to the Max campaign will include a unique challenge this year. Stay tuned for more information soon. You can already schedule your day of donation beginning Nov. 1. Donate here.
For more information about upcoming events hosted by HOPE 4 Youth, benefiting HOPE 4 Youth or bringing awareness to HOPE 4 Youth, click  here .
Event Wrap-Up

  • The innaugural Pheasant Hunt Fundraiser was held October 28 at Wild Wings of Oneka! The participants spent the morning hunting and then were treated to a delicious deep-fried pheasant lunch. A special thank you to Matt Brandt, CEO of Multicare Associates, and Greg Young, of I.C. System, for all their effort planning the event. It was definitely a fun day - we can't wait for next year! 
  • The Anoka City Council held their work session at HOPE 4 Youth last month, took a tour and learned more about our work. Our Executive Director's goal of coming together to discuss ways we can be part of the solution, rather than seen as the problem in the City of Anoka when it comes to youth homelessness was reached. The work together continues and is moving forward in a positive way.

  • Chain of Lakes kicked off their new season of Espresso Yourself this past weekend with performers Danny Zanger and Missy Burch. The show was exceptional, as always, and so was the espresso. The event benefited HOPE 4 Youth so that we can continue to work to end youth homelessness in our community. Thank you Chain of Lakes for your continued support.

  • HOPE 4 Youth attended The Boxcar Children presented by the Anoka Middle School for the Arts this past weekend to raise awareness of youth homelessness. The play was fantastic and there is still an opportunity for you to attend this coming weekend. Learn more here.

  • On Oct. 27, Chain of Lakes Church partnered with Blaine High School to sponsor the 3rd annual Box City. Students, staff and community members slept outside in boxes to bring awareness of teen homelessness in our community. Over one hundred students from Blaine High School participated this year! Lisa, our Executive Director, helped kick-off the event by sharing what homelessness looks like in our community as well as what we are doing to change it.
HOPE 4 Youth is Hiring a Development Associate
We are hiring a Development Associate to assist the the Executive Director with implementing the coordination of several aspects of fund development for HOPE 4 Youth. This employee will organize several fundraising processes and activities. If you are interested in applying, learn more here.                                          
How HOPE 4 Youth Helps
Every day, we see 30-40 young people (ages 23 and under) come through our Drop-In Center doors. We work hard to help these young people by providing them with 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 help put them on a path to their future by securing housing, finding jobs, finishing school and accessing 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. The only way to change this is to provide long-term housing solutions. In late 2016, we will open HOPE Place, the first transitional housing for youth in the north metro Twin Cities. Twelve young people at a time will have a place to call home while they develop the skills needed to leave their status of homelessness behind.
HOPE 4 Youth Needs: Donate Items
Without our generous community, we would not be able to help the young people that we serve overcome the obstacles that they face so that they are no longer homeless. 

There are many opportunities to help us meet their needs and donating items is one way of doing so. If you are able to donate items, please check out our  Top Needs as well as our  Amazon Wish List which provides budget relief. 

While you're at it, why not get your network involved by holding a donation drive? You could ask for items on our Top Needs List and Amazon Wish List, bottled water or The Home Depot Gift Cards to help with the construction of HOPE Place. We even have a scavenger hunt on our website for kids to get in the fun! To learn more, contact our Donations Team at donations@hope4youthmn.org.

P.S. Don't forget to use Amazon Smile (select HOPE 4 Youth as your charity) when doing your Holiday shopping! By shopping Amazon Smile, a percentage of your total purchase is donated back to HOPE 4 Youth.


Lisa Jacobson, Executive Director

Cheri Halek, Community Engagement Manager

Sara Kemp, Director of Programs & Properties

Jane Schipper, Finance Manager

Kristin VanHeel, Marketing & Comm. Director

Naomi M., Case Manager

Eddie R., Case Manager

Barb Justbarb , Receptionist

Board of Directors

Brian SwansonChairman,  Vice President of Quality and Enterprise Excellence at NACS, Inc.

Bridget Barr, 
Business Analytics Specialist at Meritain Health and Aetna Company

Paul Ekstrom, President at The Paul Ekstrom Realty Team (Keller Williams Classic Realty)

Na'im Madyun, Associate Dean of Undergraduate and Diversity Programs at University of Minnesota

Sarah Nohner, Financial Controller at  Graco

Paula Rak, Senior Vice President at Wells Fargo

Jerry Streich, Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director for City of Andover

James Stuart, Anoka County Sheriff

John Sitarz, Senior Financial Services Rep. at Principal Financial Group

Anita Tuch Vice President of Operations at Medtronic Neuromodulation, PLC

Susan VanVoorhis, Assoc. Vice President & Univ. Reg. at University of Minnesota

Katherine Wagoner, Di rector of Membership Engagement at Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless

Sue Woodard, President and CEO at Vantage Production