HOPE 4 Youth ENews | May 2016
HOPE 4 Youth: A Catalyst for Change

It has been more than three years since I first heard about young people in our community in need of basic resources. This sparked an intense reaction and I knew I could not stand on the side-lines while these young people needed help. I also knew that it would take a solid community of volunteers and supporters to make a change and I continue to be overwhelmed by the response we received. Without every one of you, we would not have been able to open HOPE 4 Youth’s doors.

As a new organization, I had the privilege to be involved in the day-to-day operations. This allowed me to see first-hand the impact that HOPE 4 Youth makes in the lives of the young people we serve. It’s impossible not to feel overwhelmed with a sense of accomplishment for the strides we’ve made together over the past three years. HOPE 4 Youth has quickly grown from a start-up to an adolescent organization and with that comes change. The Board of Directors and I knew that we could not continue to change the life trajectories of the youth without a staff who could dedicate themselves to helping solve the problems they face. With a full team of staff in place, I am now able to take on a different role at HOPE 4 Youth as a governing Board member. I am blessed to have had the opportunity to steer the course of the organization with all of you and look forward to this role.

As I prepare to take on this new role, I have full confidence that our new Executive Director, Lisa Jacobson, will continue our mission by taking our programs to the next level – both the Drop-In Center and Transitional Housing. We hired Lisa because we had no doubt that having her in the executive director role at HOPE 4 Youth is absolutely the best thing for the young people we serve.

- Brian Swanson, HOPE 4 Youth Board Chair

In This Issue

HOPE 4 Youth: A Catalyst for Change

Help Bring 12 Youth "Home" for Thanksgiving

Volunteer Appreciation Month

Program Highlights

Community Partner Spotlight: Connections Church

Volunteer Spotlight: Sue Woodard

Organize a Thrivent Action Team or Designate Thrivent Choice Dollars to HOPE 4 Youth

How We Help

Year in Review

Upcoming Events

In the News

Community Partners

The day I walked through the door at HOPE 4 Youth as the new Executive Director was a dream come true for me. My career has been spent working with and for non-profit organizations focused on youth and families, hunger and homelessness, both as a paid staff member and a volunteer. My heart has been affected by homeless youth more than any other. I am excited to be able to take the reins of an organization that has such tremendous support from the community, knowing we are growing with expanded services at the Drop-In Center and building HOPE Place to offer more options for young people with nowhere to call home. None of this can happen without the continued and expanded support from people like you. We truly want to close our doors in eight (8) years and will be creating a Strategic Planning Committee to lay out exactly how that will happen.

In the meantime, please consider making a donation or let me know if you want to lead an event or a drive for Home Depot gift cards. Maybe you can ask your church to participate in the Wall of Hope to construct HOPE Place. The options are many. I would love to hear from you with your own ideas too, so please email me at ljacobson@hope4youthmn.org. Let's bring the first 12 young people home for Thanksgiving this year at HOPE Place! Thanks for being with us on this journey!   

- Lisa Jacobson, HOPE 4 Youth Executive Director

Help Bring 12 Homeless Youth "Home" For Thanksgiving

We will soon be kicking-off the capital campaign to open HOPE Place, the first transitional living program in Anoka County. HOPE Place is a long-term housing solution that will provide 12 young people, at one time, with supportive, safe and affordable apartments, for an average of 12-24 months, while they develop the skills necessary to become a healthy, productive adult.

HOPE 4 Youth's goal is to raise $1.3 million so that the building, located in Coon Rapids, can be remodeled into transitional housing that will include 12 studio apartments, a community area, a fitness center, laundry facilities, offices and more. It will also cover the furnishings and fixtures as well as the operational costs for the first year to make it a place the young people call home.

There are many ways to get involved - Naming Opportunities, the Wall of HOPE, Home Depot Gift Cards, In-kind Donations, and more. If you'd like to become involved with the capital campaign, please contact Lisa Jacobson, Executive Director, at ljacobson@hope4youthmn.org

HOPE 4 Youth Volunteers Truly Change Lives
Volunteers are the backbone of HOPE 4 Youth - whether they volunteer at the Drop-In Center, Donations Center or out in the community. April was volunteer appreciation month and we wanted to honor the volunteers who dedicate their time to changing the life trajectories of the young people who walk through HOPE 4 Youth's doors.

Each day the youth are greeted by friendly-faces who are willing to guide them on a path towards their future; one that's not homeless but rather HOPEful. The youth reflected on the impact the volunteers have made in their lives and shared the following words.

" [They are] twice as willing to give as they are to gain. That is what makes it so beautiful."  -Brandon

"[Their] finger prints never fade from the lives [they] touch." - Monica

The volunteers make HOPE 4 Youth a "Safe Haven."
- Kayla 

A volunteer also shared why she dedicates her time to help the young people we serve feel safe, valued and supported.

"I like being part of a group that is helping youth in our community gain independence, find jobs, locate house and become well adjusted, contributing members of society." - Kim
HOPE 4 Youth Program Highlights
  • Eddie, our Youth Case Manager, received his Streetworks Green Bag in March. In order to receive his bag, Eddie  had to meet all requirements of the Streetworks Outreach Collaborative - 4-6 shadow shifts with Streetwork's outreach workers, visitation to 4-6 homeless youth centers and participation in monthly meetings. This gives Eddie and HOPE 4 Youth access to readily available resources for our homeless youth and professionalizes our outreach work. Well deserved, Eddie!

  • We're excited to introduce out new LGBTQ Case Manager, Naomi M. Naomi brings with her a background of working with homeless youth; previously working as a Case Manager at the Bridge for Youth. She is a native of Anoka County, an alumna of Blaine High School, and moved back to Anoka County after graduating from Winona State University to work with homeless youth in her community.

  • There have been two major updates to the Drop-In Center thanks to our fabulous donors. We purchased a new water heater so that all the youth are able to take a hot shower. We also received a donation to purchase a new picnic table - the old table was an accident waiting to happen. These two updates are items that the youth truly deserve to have access to at the Drop-In Center.
  • Our intern Heather has been working with the youth to create resumes. This is integral to helping the youth secure employment as well as advancing in the future.

Community Partner Spotlight: Connections Church
Without Connections Church, the annual Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser would not have been an overwhelming success - raising more than $8,000.

Connections donated enough spaghetti noodles, spaghetti sauce and parmesan cheese to feed the more than 525 people who attended the event. The attendees raved about how delicious the food was.

Connections did more than just donate the food items for the dinner. The Connections Church Life Group also volunteered the day-of to help set-up.

Thank you again Connections for supporting the Spaghetti Dinner and other HOPE 4 Youth projects.
Volunteer Spotlight: Sue Woodard
She's walked on hot coals, sky-dived over Vegas, Harley'd Route 66, cage-dived with great whites, and now joined the fight to end youth homelessness. Please welcome our newest Board Member, Sue Woodard.

Sue is the president and CEO of Vantage Production and  brings more than 20 years of strategic leadership to the board as well as a passion for guiding young people on their journey to adulthood.

“I have long had a heart for teenagers and young adults, particularly of the age served by HOPE 4 Youth,” said Sue. “Those very informative years in life hold so many things – growth, challenge, transition, and learning - and very often are accompanied by pain and struggle. They are special years, where acceptance, love, support, and guidance is need more than ever; HOPE 4 Youth offers exactly that.”

She continues, “I am honored to have this opportunity as it resonates with several of my core values. I am truly grateful for the chance to join fellow board members in leading and directing the future of the organization, raising up community members to join in the efforts, and ultimately, ending youth homelessness in Anoka County."

Organize a Thrivent Action Team or Designate Thrivent Choice Dollars to HOPE 4 Youth

If you’re a member of Thrivent Financial you have a unique opportunity to make a significant impact at HOPE 4 Youth with the Thrivent Action Team program. Through the program, you can apply to lead a service activity, fundraiser or educational event. When approved, Thrivent will donate a number of resources to help you plan the event, including $250 of seed money to get you on your way. Additionally, you can designate HOPE 4 Youth as the recipient of your Thrivent Choice Dollars.

HOPE 4 Youth has put together a variety of Thrivent Action Team ideas for you. Contact Lisa Jacobson at ljacobson@hope4youthmn.org to discuss ideas, and visit the Thrivent Action Team Website for more details about the program.

HOPE 4 Youth: How We Help
Every day, we see 25-40 young people (ages 23 and under) come through our Drop-In Center doors. We work hard to help these youth by providing them with their most basic needs such as:
· A hot, nutritious meal
· Food from our food pantry
· Basic hygiene products
· Clothes from our clothing closets
· A hot shower
· Laundry facilities

Then we help put them on a path to their future by:
· Securing housing
· Finding jobs
· Finishing school
· 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 plan to open HOPE Place, the first transitional living program for youth in Anoka County. Twelve young
people at a time will finally have a place to call home
while they develop the skills necessary to become
a healthy, productive adult.
HOPE 4 Youth 2015 In Review
Last year, 369 youth who were homeless or at-risk of becoming homeless walked through our Drop-In Center doors in need of resources and services. 
Upcoming Events
  • Malmborg's Spring Fundraiser
    May 1-7
    Malmborg's in Blaine and Rogers
    10% of your pre-tax purchase will be donated back to HOPE 4 Youth (must present coupon)
  • Three Squares Dine to Donate
    TODAY from 6-9 p.m.
    3 Squares Restaurant in Maple Grove
    Hosted by the Maple Grove Lutheran Foundation
  • Empty Bowls Event
    May 5 from 4:15-6:30 p.m.
    Compass at Bell Center
    1374 Northdale Blvd., Coon Rapids
    Student-made bowls $5 each, silent auction and a light supper. Hosted by Compass Programs, TPP, Regional High School and RTLC, half of the proceeds to HOPE 4 Youth
  • Espresso Yourself Concert Series
    May 6 at 6:30 p.m. 
    10130 Davenport St NE, # 160, Blaine
    An evening of music and coffee to raise awareness and funds for HOPE 4 Youth. Featured Musicians: Boo and the Finch Kids, Danny Zanger and The OK Factor
    Free and open to the public.
    Rockin' Dollar Dance
    May 7 from 7:30-11:30 p.m.
    Brookhall in Blaine
    An evening of music and dancing featuring Jonah & the Whales. Cover charge of $1 is donated to HOPE 4 Youth.
    May 22 from 7-9 p.m.
    CR's Sports Bar in Coon Rapids
    Anoka Ramsey Art Flow will be holding an epic fire spinning show and hula hoop jam to benefit HOPE 4 Youth. 
  • Gala 4 HOPE
    Oct. 8 at 5:30 p.m.
    Marriott Northwest in Brooklyn Park
    The Gala 4 HOPE is an annual fundraiser benefiting HOPE 4 Youth. To purchase a ticket, sponsor a table and/or make a donation, contact the Gala Committee at 
May Community Partners
HOPE 4 Youth Staff

Lisa Jacobson, Executive Director                                  

Kristan Clow, Program Supervisor

Cheri Halek, Volunteer Manager

Heather Rickbeil, Donor Development Manager

Jane Schipper, Finance Manager

Kristin VanHeel, Marketing & Comm. Director

Naomi M., Case Manager

Eddie R., Case Manager
HOPE 4 Youth Board of Directors

Brian SwansonChairman, Director of Operations      and Enterprise Excellence at NACS, Inc. 

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

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

Paula Rak, Operations Area Manager at Wells Fargo

Anita Tuch, Vice President of Global Structural Heart  Operations at Medtronic

Susan VanVoorhis, Associate Vice Provost  Academic Support Resources and University  Registrar at the University of Minnesota

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

Sue Woodard, President and CEO at Vantage  Production