We want to thank our community for your overwhelming support and concern in the wake of the Twin Cities' unrest. At this time, Avenues is not in need of new volunteers or in-kind donations, but others in our community still need your support.
Shout out to the Walden University and Graybar volunteers who did yard work at Avenues this month. You help keep our houses feeling like home!
Thank you Prudential and Imperial Court of MN for hosting donation drives for Avenues!
Thank you Indeed Brewery for collecting new t-shirts and underwear for youth at Avenues! Underwear is one of the hardest items to collect. Thanks to you, we're set for awhile.
Thank You For Building On Dreams
This month over 200 guests attending Building on Dreams, Avenues first ever virtual fundraising event. Guests experienced a behind the doors experience of each of our programs, meeting staff and youth along the way. Thanks to their generosity, we blew past our goal and raised over $77,000 for youth experiencing homelessness.
This would not have been possible without our sponsors. Building on Dreams was sponsored by Alerus, and supported by KPMG, Johnson & Johnson, Mytech Partners, First Equity, Timberland Partners, Comcast, Morrie's Brooklyn Park Subaru, NoPlaceLikeHome, Ernst & Young, Topline Federal Credit Union and Prince of Peace.
A special thank you to Nonpod for producing Building on Dreams, and Seema Pothini, Joe Davis and Mercedes Thomas-Foster for sharing your inspiring words during the program.
The Voice of An Angel at Minneapolis Avenues
"I’ve wanted to audition for The Voice since I was twelve. I’ve basically been singing ever since I could talk," 18-year-old J said. "I was for sure going to audition this year I just didn’t know when. I decided on right now."
A few weeks ago staff and youth overheard J singing in the house. Ever since then J's been singing for the house, even serenading another youth on their moving day.
"When I heard her voice I literally got the chills. It caused me to tear up. She has the voice of an angel," Ms. Shennika, the Minneapolis Avenues Program Manager, said about J.
All of the youth and staff new about J's audition. On the day of her audition, Ms. Shennika said that house was silent. Everyone wanted J to do her best.
"Because of the Coronavirus we had to do a virtual audition. You could record your song and a couple hours later they’ll send you an email saying you did well or that you should try again next year," J explained. "I sang “All You Do Is Cry” which Beyoncé sang but Etta James made the song."
At the end of the day, J got an email back from the judges. Although they loved her voice, they encouraged her to pick a new song and audition next year. J is already planning what her audition will be.
"I have a lot of songs in my head but I’m kind of making my own songs now," J said. "Singing is my everyday routine. No matter what I’m doing – if I’m irritated, mad – I sing all the time. Singing helps me calm down. I think about a lot of things and it’s just one of my coping mechanisms that I use a lot."
Meet Shawn Sorrell, Our New Board Member
Shawn Sorrell is an experienced consultant with public and private entities in design and implementation of organizational change strategies and leadership development, dedicated to diversity, equity and inclusion. He currently serves as the Diversity and Equal Justice Manager for Hennepin County Minnesota Department of Community Corrections and Rehabilitation. Shawn formally studied chemical engineering at Drexel University, sociology and psychology at the University of Delaware and is a native of Baltimore, MD. Shawn spent several years working with community groups and religious organizations in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Wilmington, Delaware, cultivating violence prevention programs and mentoring youth from diverse religious and ethnic backgrounds.
What drew you to serve on Avenues for Youth's board of directors? Prior experiences serving and challenges with creating transition plans for youth experiencing homelessness connected with the juvenile justice system
What about youth inspires you? Youth represent joy in the present and hope for the future, supporting this phenomenon is inspirational.
What was your dream job as a kid? Art museum curator.
6,000 Reasons to Run A 6K
Why run a 6K instead of a 5K? Because every night in Minnesota, 6,000 youth experience homelessness. #Avenues6K raises funds and awareness for youth, while keeping you and your community healthy.
Join us the weekend of July 18th and 19th for a virtual 6K run using the MapMyRun app. You can choose your route and track your time and distance in the app, while keep appropriate social distancing recommendations for yourself and family. After you've finished, take a screenshot of your run route and share to social media tagging @Avenuesforyouth and use #Avenues6K.
Once you register, you will receive your own fundraising web page where you can encourage your network and family to sponsor or your run. We challenge you to try to raise $100 or more to support Avenues' mission. Once you register, you'll even receive a four week workout training guide to get ready for the 6K.
Registration is free but we encourage you to kick start your fundraising by making a gift meaningful to you. 100% of 6K proceeds will make a direct impact on local youth experiencing homelessness.
As we grapple with George Floyd's death, policy brutality and the Twin Cities' unrest, you may be asking yourself, "What now?" "How do I be an ally?" "What can I do?"
Change starts in your home and in ourselves. If you're looking for resources to learn, look through Avenues' recommended readings that we encourage new host homes to read. These resources help us understand our own racism, systems of oppression and what youth at Avenues experience everyday. At Avenues, we know that there is no one reason why youth experience homelessness – it’s intersectional. Systems of oppression, racism and poverty are of the root causes of homelessness. Without addressing these systems, homelessness will persist.
Check out the resources in the "Read and Examine" section.