AveNEWS September 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 and to see what your support has gone to.More information here. 

Join us on Oct. 24 for an Art, Drink and Drag fundraiser benefiting Avenues LGBTQ programs. You can purchase items created by local artists, enjoy a drag show and appetizers, wine and beer from area businesses. Click here for more information and tickets. 

The Church of St. Gerard and Mama Donato are teaming up for a pizza fundraiser benefiting Avenues! Join us at St. Gerard Church on Nov. 9 from 6-8 pm for a family friendly pizza night.Click here for more information. 
Wish List

We've updated our wish list with our most needed items: USB drives (for school), comforters, sheets and pillows. 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 Amanda and the Wicked Wort team for supporting Avenues this month! For two weeks. $3 of every Big Deal Kolsch sold supported Avenues' programs. Additionally, Mama Donato and the Robbinsdale Ambassadors held a slider bar at Wicked Wort with proceeds going to Avenues. Thank you for your support! 

Mizpah United Church of Christ donated blessing bags full of essential supplies - hygiene products, men's and women's underwear and gift cards and bus passes. Thank you for your support, Mizpah! 
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  Avenues for Homeless Youth

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

Youth on their own are some of the least visible and most vulnerable people experiencing homelessness. They are less likely than adults to find refuge in shelters and have fewer opportunities for housing and other basic necessities. At Avenues, we work not only to support youth experiencing homelessness but also to amplify their voices. They inspire us, challenge us, push us to do more and to do better. Like Makeda, whose story we share in this issue, current and past program participants are making a difference, giving back to Avenues and to the community, every day.

What inspires YOU to assist youth experiencing homelessness? Through our open houses, I've had the opportunity to meet more of you. We created these events so that you can see your support in action. But meeting you has turned out to be motivating for me. Your stories about your connection to Avenues and why you care about youth experiencing homelessness are moving and inspirational.

If you haven't come to an open house yet, I hope to see you soon! Click here for more information. 


Katherine Meerse, Ph.D. 
Executive Director 
Have You Heard? Avenues' New Mission Statement, Values and Vision

This month we announced Avenues' new mission statement, values and vision. Our new mission is: 

Avenues partners with youth experiencing homelessness to achieve their dreams. 

This mission reflects our commitment to being journey-oriented and youth-centered. We partner with youth, walking alongside them as they work towards stability. We encourage and guide youth to reach their dreams, empowering them to decide their own journey. 

Avenues also adopted a vision statement, a community where all youth flourish, and values: equity, community, respect + dignity, trust, liberation, and anti-oppression.  These values have always been a part of Avenues work, we're excited to officially name them. Over the next several months, we will be defining each value and sharing it with the wider community. 

Have feedback on our new mission, values and vision? Let us know here! Thank you for your continued commitment to Avenues and the youth. 

Congratulations, Makeda!   

"I'm excited to challenge myself and learn from the people around me," Makeda Lacking, who was promoted to a Youth Advocate and Engagement Specialist (case manager) this month, said about her new position. "If feels great for me. I have a lot of reflective moments. When I'm dealing with a disgruntled youth, I can picture myself in the same situation. I've slept in the beds, lived in the rooms - I understand their frustration and what's going on."

Avenues has been in Makeda's life since she was 15, when she first reached out to Minneapolis Avenues in need of a place to stay. She lived in the program for over a year and graduated from high school while at Avenues. Throughout college she continued to talk to her former case manager, Bryce Jones, who is now her supervisor. In addition to working at Avenues for the past four years, Makeda's experience with homelessness makes her uniquely qualified for the position.

"I'm going to push education more with the youth," Makeda said about her goals in this position. "When I came to Avenues I had dropped out of high school because I didn't have a support system, and obviously, housing. I fell back in love with education at Avenues, and when I finally got stability, I realized that education is the best path to success. No matter where you're going in life, get your high school diploma, further your education in some way."

Makeda says that what she loves most about working at Avenues is the youth. "It's really gratifying to see even the tiniest bit of growth in our youth. That's so precious to me because you don't see that every day. Who can honestly say they've seen people's lives change right in front of their eyes?"

Congratulations, Makeda!

Pull for Pride, a third party deadlift competition benefiting Avenues. 

Make A Difference This Winter By Hosting A Special Event   

With the holidays fast approaching, hosting an event to support our work is a fun way for you to share why Avenues matters to you. These events allow us to be focused on what matters - the youth - while community members plan and host events on Avenues' behalf. Our team gladly provides some support and guidance, but what's truly magical about these events is that they are organized by you! You know your friends and families best, and you know what they'd enjoy doing in support of Avenues. 

Our supporters are passionate, creative, and dedicated volunteers who increase Avenues' capacity to raise funds to support our programs. Some recent examples of special events are a family pizza night at a church, an art and drag show event, a dead lifting competition and a Facebook birthday fundraiser. 

Interesting in hosting a holiday special event or want to learn more? Reach out to Anna Bergreen at abergreen@avenuesforyouth.org.