HOPE 4 Youth ENews | August 2016
Homelessness & Education

The cool, crisp air is rolling in, the leaves are beginning to change color and tomorrow the calendar flips to September. This all means that young people are headed back to school next week (or are already back). For young people experiencing homelessness, school isn’t necessarily their first priority. They are more concerned with where they will sleep tonight or how they are going to find their next meal than they are with their education.

Whether these young people are in high school, working on their GED or attending college, HOPE 4 Youth helps them first meet their basic needs so that they can, with our help, if needed, achieve their educational goals. HOPE 4 Youth staff, volunteers and community partners work with the youth to address and overcome any barriers that they face. This includes advocating for them at school, connecting with onsite tutors, helping complete GED and other coursework, preparing for college applications, filing for financial aid and connecting them to scholarships, when available.

We also know that the youth do not necessarily have funds to cover the costs of basic educational necessities. With help from the community, we are able to provide them with school supplies, clothing so that they feel like they “fit in,” bus tokens for transportation, food so that they have a full stomach and more.  By providing these basics, our hope is that the young people can focus on their education, which moves them towards a future where they are able to work in a career that they have always dreamed of.

HOPE 4 Youth is also able to help homeless youth achieve their secondary education goals through the Ratfield Scholarship. The Ratfield Scholarship was established in 2015 by Duane and Jodi Stark to thank a mentor who made a difference in Duane’s life. It is awarded to a youth on an annual basis so that they can attend a two-year program such as carpentry, information technology, nursing, etc. The scholarship covers tuition and books.

The 2016 recipient of the scholarship is Jacob. Jacob recently started his first semester at Anoka Technical College to study information technology and management. He is taking five different courses including web programming, IT support and program logic, so he can decide which area he will proceed with. Jacob is fascinated by technology and is excited for to see where the schooling leads him in the future. Duane and Jodi are pleased that they can “pay it forward” to Jacob by helping him with his education and can’t wait to attend his college graduation.

Education is an important part of moving young people experiencing homelessness forward and HOPE 4 Youth is continuously working to offer additional educational opportunities to the youth. 

In This Issue

Homelessness & Education

The Darkest Night of Your Life 4K

Thank you for Your Generosity!


HOPE Place Update

Program Corner

Program Highlights

Welcome to the Board of Directors

Volunteer Spotlight

Community Partner Spotlight

Community Partners

Upcoming Events

Events Wrap-Up

HOPE 4 Youth Needs

How We Help


Board of Directors

Are You Ready for The Darkest Night of Your Life? 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 Hennepin County. When the darkness of night sets in, these youth are sleeping on the streets.

HOPE 4 Youth is raising awareness of the plight of these young people by bringing the community together for a unique experience, The Darkest Night of Your Life 4K. Participants will experience some of the same things as these young people – darkness, loneliness, cold and quiet– while they run or walk the 2.5 miles. Participants will also have an opportunity to learn more about youth homelessness and our strategic plans to end it.

The 4K does more than just raise awareness, it also helps them leave their title of homelessness in the past by raising money 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 allow 12 homeless youth, at any one time, a place to call “home” while they learn the skills they need to become a productive, healthy and housed adult. HOPE Place is scheduled to open the week of Thanksgiving 2016.

The Darkest Night of Your Life 4K will be an annual event that will support the operational expenses of HOPE Place. It is our hope that it grows each year.

WHEN: Friday, Sept. 30; participants choose their wave – 9:30 p.m. or 10:30 p.m.

WHERE: Bunker Hills Golf Club (12800 Bunker Prairie Road NW, Coon Rapids, MN 55448) The 4K course will be on the Bunker Hills Golf Course cart path and luminarias will help light the course, sponsored by ESA Minnesota.

REGISTER: Online at HOPE4YouthMn.org/4K.

COST: Early registration fee is $30 (includes long-sleeve shirt) and on-site registration fee is $40 (long-sleeve shirt not guaranteed).

Don’t forget to fundraise! I challenge you to start your own team and raise more than my team! Individuals and teams are encouraged to challenge each other to see who can earn the title of Top Fundraiser. Prizes will be awarded. Fundraising instructions can be found at HOPE4YouthMn.org/4K.

This is an important component of the event and we sincerely hope you will raise money for HOPE Place. Sponsorships are also available. To learn more about sponsoring, contact me at ljacobson@hope4youthmn.org or 763.323.2066, ext. 107.  If you can’t participate, please consider making a donation to support this event.

Thanks in advance for your support of homeless youth in our community!

Lisa Jacobson
Executive Director
Thank You for Your Generosity!

We are only 90 days away from opening the doors to HOPE Place and moving the first 12 homeless youth in to their warm and comfortable apartments. These youth might be sleeping in a bed for the first time in months, cooking on a new stove or reaching into their own refrigerator for the first time. Imagine that! Many of these youth have never had a place to call their own. How neat will it be for them to move into this place that love built. Literally.

Since I arrived as the new Executive Director, I have met so many amazing people, organizations, businesses and congregations - no matter who they are or what their situation is, they want to help HOPE 4 Youth. Have you been waiting for the right time to get more involved? Has it been on your to-do list but you never quite get to it? We so appreciate our donors and want to make it as easy as possible for you to work with us to change the lives of homeless youth right here in our neighborhood.

We must continue to raise general operating dollars every month to keep the Drop-In Center open and pay the eight staff who work here along with our rent, utilities, insurance and other costs. Our GALA 4 HOPE on October 8th will raise money for general operations as well.

At the same time, we are building HOPE Place and running a capital campaign to raise the money to finish construction. There are naming options for larger donations and opportunities to join the Founder’s Circle by pledging a total of $500, to be paid by the end of the year. We are also applying for capital grants and asking for donations of materials and labor as we continue the construction phases.

And why build a building if you don't have the funds to open the doors? We are raising money for the first year of operating HOPE Place and holding a new event - The Darkest Night of Your Life 4K - which will annually fund the operations. We are seeking other funding sources as well to ensure that we can keep the doors to this new building open. 

After being in this role for six months, I see that our donors don’t tire of giving to a cause that they value, that they are passionate about, that they are excited to be involved in. It is my commitment to you to be the BEST steward of your hard-earned dollars - money you invest with us. We know that donors have different giving habits. Some donors might be attracted to year-end giving, while others prefer a monthly giving-plan. Others might even like participating in an event, whether it’s a Gala or a 4K. We always want you to know the difference you, the donors, are making. Thank you from all of us at HOPE 4 Youth for your support! 

Lisa Jacobson, Executive Director

Have you purchased your table or individual ticket yet for the GALA 4 HOPE? 

The GALA 4 HOPE is an annual fundraiser benefiting HOPE 4 Youth that helps with "Building Tomorrows" for young people experiencing homelessness and those who are at-risk of becoming homeless. 

WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 8; 
Social 5:30 p.m./Dinner 7 p.m.

WHERE: Marriott Northwest – Northland Ballroom in Brooklyn Park, Minn.

REGISTER: Online at HOPE4YouthMN.org/GALA or contact the GALA Committee at 763.232.2940 or sendebre@gmail.com.

There are many opportunities to support these young people at the GALA. You can sponsor a table, sponsor a game, and purchase tickets to attend. Please see below for the Sponsorship Opportunities.

We are also in need of donations for the silent and live auctions. Suggestions include: themed gift baskets, gift cards, electronics, sporting event tickets or donated services.

Questions? Contact Brenda Senden, GALA Committee Co-Chair, sendebre@gmail.com or 763.232.2940.

Don’t miss the chance to win former Governor Arne Carlson’s 2004 Cadillac DeVille DHS – 79,000 miles! There will only be 1,000 tickets sold – $20 per ticket – and the winning ticket will be drawn at the GALA. You do not need to be in attendance to win. To purchase your ticket, contact Lisa Jacobson at ljacobson@hope4youthmn.org or 763.323.2066, ext. 107. 

HOPE Place, Our New Transitional Housing, Update

The construction on HOPE Place continues to move forward. New windows have been installed and interior walls are being constructed. It is exciting to watch the progress being made, knowing that soon the first 12 young people will call HOPE Place home in a few short months!

In addition to the construction, we are working closely with our program partners, YouthLink, CommonBond, Anoka County Workforce Center and others. We want to ensure that the young people who get to call HOPE Place home receive the wrap-around services they need to be successful adults when they leave and get their own permanent housing and career.

Thank you to all of you who have made a financial gift to make this dream a reality. If you have been thinking about giving but haven't yet, please consider doing it today.

Program Corner: Housing for Homeless Youth

Coming to HOPE 4 Youth, I’m very excited to work on building a housing program so that youth coming to the Drop-In Center can easily transition from homeless into housing. Seeing that happen is my greatest passion, but finding housing options in the community takes time. I am up for the challenge and all it takes is gaining one crack and the door will open for our youth.

The first step in finding housing for the youth begins with the case managers. The case managers are on the front lines working with the youth that visit the Drop-In Center. They are able to have meaningful conversations that helps them understand what housing resources each young person experiencing homelessness needs. HOPE 4 Youth also provides the youth ongoing case management services to inform them about renter’s rights, budgeting and offer support services that are helpful to both the youth and their future landlord/owner.  

While the case managers are working with the youth, I am working with the community to find housing options. Landlords and property managers are often fearful of renting to youth due to their age and the fact that they have little or no credit or rental history. By building relationships with the landlords, property managers and other key member, we are ensuring that the youth have housing while they strive to meet other goals and make changes in their lives. And, that they are tenants that any landlord/property manager would want.

The youth want to be accepted, have stability and a place to call home. We are working to fulfill these goals.

-Sara Kemp, Director of Programs & Properties

Program Highlights
  • Coming Soon: Livio Health Group, a mobile urgent care, will be onsite at the Drop-In Center once a week. Livio will offer the youth physical exams, lab work, diagnostic testing, referrals and follow up appointments. The case managers are working hard to make sure all the youth have access to Livio by making sure they have health insurance before the clinic opens. Keep watching for more information!

  • This past month many of the youth were hired for full-time employment; one was promoted to an assistant manager! Working helps provide responsibility and stability for the youth as well as opens up opportunities that have been missing for some of them. Our Case Manager, Eddie, has been out in the community building relationships with companies that have openings, many immediate, where the youth could be hired. We are also fortunate to have the Anoka County Workforce Center and Atlas Staffing onsite regularly to help find job leads, write resumes and teach interviewing skills. We recognize the importance of employment and want the youth to have passion for their job, so it’s not just a job.

  • Our case managers have been working with youth who have secured employment on budgeting and savings. This is a key piece that will help them move from homeless to housed. It is also a challenge when they aren’t sure where they are spending the night and we take that into account by helping the youth open a savings account. Having a savings plan in place – even if it’s $10 every paycheck – helps keep them motivated and eventually they save more. The more they save, the sooner we can help them find housing.
Welcome to the Board of Directors, Chief Jerry Streich and Na'im Madyun!

“As a young man, my brothers and I faced the sudden divorce of our parents. With my mother trying to raise four boys alone, times got tough and eventually led to the loss of our childhood home which put us into a small hotel room. Over time, it grew harder to find food and shelter as my mother become depressed and turned to alcohol. In order to get away from it all, I began to sleep in my car and hop from one friend’s house to another in search of basic needs. If it were not for the support of several local officials (firefighters, police officers, teachers) and parents of my friends who could see the issue, I may not be who I am today.” - Jerry Streich, Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director for the City of Andover.

Learn more about Chief Streich by reading his press release.

Na'im Madyun joins the Board of Directors to continue his professional and personal work of supporting opportunities for marginalized populations. Madyun was raised by his mother in a low-income household in the South.  In his community, there were not many who expected to strive beyond high school. Despite his circumstances, Despite his circumstances, Madyun had the drive to succeed. Madyun is now an accomplished academic who has extensive experience with organizational leadership, policy development and diversity and equity efforts.

Learn more about Na'im Madyun by reading his press release.

Volunteer Spotlight: Heidi Eustice

This month we said goodbye to one of our Lead Mentors, Heidi Eustice. Heidi is leaving HOPE 4 Youth to move to Dubai with her husband. We will miss Heidi's creativity, enthusiasm and, most of all, ability to listen to the youth and help them figure out how they could move forward.

As a lead mentor, Heidi was responsible for opening the Drop-In Center at 2 p.m.. She then made sure that the youths' needs were met - food, clothing, social, mental and physical health, jobs, education, housing, etc. Heidi was passionate about the art program that she ran and worked with the youth on sketching, composition and other projects to encourage therapeutic creativity. 

She first became involved with homelessness when her daughter was part of a homeless youth service program through her high school. Heidi thought that she could help by taking a youth into her home and underwent training through the Anoka Hennepin School District. She learned, however, that this was not possible as the funding didn't exist in Anoka County. After additional searching for ways to become involved, she heard about HOPE 4 Youth and fell in love with the youth, volunteers and employees.

Heidi has seen first-hand how HOPE 4 Youth volunteers help change the young peoples' lives. "The volunteers and staff encourage and hold them accountable for their lives. They offer support while instilling self-respect, self-discipline, self-care and self-love in the youth," she said.

Heidi will miss "the amazing youth that come through HOPE 4 Youth's doors. Every single one is talented, capable, smart, strong and just in need of support and direction to use the talents and wisdom they have." She will also miss the volunteers and staff. "The people that volunteer and work at HOPE 4 Youth are smart, interesting, hilarious, devoted, caring and supportive. They have taught me so much by working along side of them. A shift never went by without a how are you? How's your family? We are thinking about you." She added, "I really have never encountered this dynamic in a volunteer setting. These people are the real deal."

Heidi wanted to share a message with the youth, "You are talented, you are resourceful, you are moving forward, even if it doesn't feel like it. You are smart, you are beautiful, you matter greatly and I cannot wait to see the positive impact you will and are making every day. I deeply care about each and every one of you." 

Community Partner Spotlight: Financial One Credit Union
Financial One Credit Union  is giving back to our community through their 3 Essentials Giving Program. As part of their program, they will be helping HOPE 4 Youth provide the "3 Essentials" through donating funds back to us on an ongoing basis. They recently donated funds that would provide 30 nights of shelter.  Learn more about how you can help them give back through their 3 Essentials Program.
Community Partners
Upcoming Events

  • Redeemer Centennial 5K Walk/Run
    Sept. 10 at 9:30 a.m.
    Redeemer Centennial is celebrating 100 years by hosting a 5K to support HOPE 4 Youth. Bring your family and friends to walk or run the 5K – all ages and abilities welcome.
    Register today!
  • Ramsey Happy Days Festival Expo
    Sept. 10 at noon-7 p.m.
    The City of Ramsey is hosting their 18th Annual Happy Days Festival and HOPE 4 Youth will be participating in the Happy Days Expo to raise awareness of what we do.
  • Anoka County Sheriff’s Office Open House
    Sept. 13 at 4-7 p.m.
    Anoka County Sheriff's Office
    Sheriff James Stuart and his staff invite you to an “Open House” to come and see the Sheriff’s Office and the diverse services provided to the citizens of Anoka County. HOPE 4 Youth will be collecting The Home Depot Gift Cards at the Open House. 
  • Swine in the Street
    Sept. 17 at 1- 7 p.m.
    Beef O'Brady's in Andover
    Do U BBQ ?  Come compete … or just come eat! The 12th annual Swine in the Street Contest & Tasting will once again benefit HOPE 4 Youth.
  • Lakeside Cabinets and Woodworking Charity Car Show
    Sept. 24 at 10 a.m.-2p.m.
    Lakeside Cabinets in Nowthen
    Join Lakeside Cabinets for their 3rd Annual Charity Car Show (free). They will be collecting donations on-site for HOPE 4 Youth – earn free food and drinks for donating. 
  • The Darkest Night of Your Life 4K
    Sept. 30 at 9:30 and 10:30 p.m.; participants choose their wave.
    Bunker Hills Golf Club in Coon Rapids
    The 4K is a run/walk benefiting HOPE 4 Youth. Register today!
    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 763.232.2940 or complete online registration.

For more information on upcoming events hosted by HOPE 4 Youth, benefiting HOPE 4 Youth or bringing awareness to HOPE 4 Youth, click here.

Event Wrap-Up
Heartland Tire held their third annual Heartland Tire Classic Golf Tournament this month which raised more than $50,000; exceeding their goal of $33,000 to pay the HOPE Place mortgage for the coming year.  Thank you  Heartland Tire , all of the sponsors and participants for helping make the dreams of our youth into realities!  
Chain of Lakes spent last Saturday bagging groceries for our community members at Cub Foods in Blaine. While doing so, they raised an amazing $1,800 for HOPE 4 Youth; one man wrote out a $500 check. Thank you for your ongoing support, Chain of Lakes.
The Pizza Ranch Community Impact Fundraiser was another fabulous example of our community coming together to support HOPE 4 Youth! Thank you to Cheri, our Community Engagement Manager, and all our volunteers, for your hard-work in raising more than $1,000 again this year!
Northtown Mall  held their annual donation drive for HOPE 4 Youth. Thank you to Northtown and all their shoppers who donated new items for the youth - socks, clothing, food, hygiene products!
HOPE 4 Youth Needs: Donate Items

Without our generous community, we would not be able to help the young people overcome the obstacles that they face so that they are no longer homeless. There are many opportunities to help us meet our needs and donating items is one way of doing so. If you are looking to donate items, please check out our current Top Needs List 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 or Amazon Wish List, bottled water or The Home Depot Gift Cards to help with the construction of HOPE Place. To learn more, contact our Donations Team at donations@hope4youthmn.org.

How We Help
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 youth 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 plan to open HOPE Place, the first transitional living program for youth in Anoka County. Twelve young people at a time will have a place to call home while they develop the skills to be leave their status of homelessness behind.

Lisa Jacobson, Executive Director

Cheri Halek, Community Engagement Manager

Sara Kemp, Director of Programs & Properties

Heather Rickbeil, Donor Development Manager 

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

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