Homeless Youth Program receives $10,000 from The Community Foundation’s Youth in Philanthropy
January 5, 2017
Young adults are the fastest growing sector of those who are becoming homeless, locally and throughout the U.S. The greater Fredericksburg area has seen an upsurge in youth homelessness – the number of youth living on the street has more than doubled over the past three years. One familiar scenario is the teenager who "ages out" of the available foster care system and, with few life skills and a limited support system, ends up on the street.
Micah Ecumenical Ministries is committed to changing those statistics. Micah supports chronically homeless people in our community and identifies pathways to permanent housing. In 2011, Micah established Step Forward, an income development program that helps homeless youth and other individuals overcome barriers to employment and access public benefits that provide a sustainable income.
The teen grant analysts participating in Youth in Philanthropy (“YIP”) chose to award the full balance of available grant funds -- $10,000 -- to Micah to enrich and enhance their Step Forward Program. The 2016 YIP competitive grant cycle received nearly $90,000 in funding requests from a variety of promising programs, but students were determined to award a single grant to one high-impact organization which best served or benefitted youth in our community. YIP students were particularly invested in the future of the Step Forward program – especially as Micah strives to support and address the unique needs of a growing number of homeless youth who do not have the same opportunities and resources as their YIP peers. One of Micah’s keys to the success of Step Forward is offering trial work opportunities through carefully cultivated partnerships with local businesses, employers and schools. Step Forward will use the grant money to assist their youngest clients with resume development, financial planning, job searches and job site placement, transportation, educational opportunities and, ultimately, with permanent housing.
Since its formation in 2005, Youth in Philanthropy has encouraged student leadership, volunteerism and community giving by engaging young people in deciding how best to distribute grant dollars to benefit youth-implemented or youth-serving projects. YIP began with six students and has grown to over forty participants each year. Mentored by adults and led by high school seniors, YIP offers a unique and challenging leadership experience. The members, comprised of 10-12th graders, are responsible for understanding the types of needs that exist in our community, preparing and disseminating a Request for Proposal, reviewing grant applications, conducting site visits and on-site interviews, and making funding recommendations to The Community Foundation’s Board of Governors.
Know anyone who may be interested in applying? Learn how to become a YIP today!
Click here to find out more about Micah Ecumenical Ministries Step Forward Program.