Meet the Summer 2017 YEP Apprentice Cohort

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A lot has been going on around the office over the summer: we’ve got a new set of apprentices, some new apprenticeship partners, and a brand-new staff position to manage our growing job training apprenticeship program.

To handle a wonderful “problem” – a successful, burgeoning job training program – we created a new position designed specifically to give our apprentices the best possible experience during their six-month job placements. Alicia, formerly our Administrative Coordinator, stepped into her new role as the Youth Employment Coordinator in July and has been busy fine-tuning our apprenticeship program until it’s a well-oiled machine. She’s there to help apprentices navigate their schedules, answer their questions, and offer support to each individual as they need it.

Our job training program seeks to give youth both practical skills and soft skills that make good employees great. In addition to learning new skills for the job market, apprentices earn a stipend for their work and attend weekly Leadership Institute classes at New Horizons, where they receive life skills training – like financial literacy and budgeting practices from local banking professionals, conflict resolution techniques, resume & cover letter workshops with Seattle Public Library, and more.

With all the adjustments to better our apprenticeship program, we decided to make one more change. What was formerly known as the EXALT Apprenticeship Program is now the Youth Employment Program, affectionately known as YEP.

Not only do we love the enthusiasm of the acronym, we’re also proud to be able to say, “Yep! You’re in!” to the individuals who apply for and receive job training apprenticeships through our program. Help us welcome the Summer 2017 Cohort and wish them well!


Aaron Johnson – Facilities Apprentice

Aaron has been consistently early to every shift! He gets right to work without much need for direction, and gets our space looking neat n’ tidy. We’re lucky to have Aaron on board.

Fun fact: Aaron’s favorite artist is Gucci Mane.

Kara Harper – Kitchen Apprentice

Kara splits her time between New Horizon’s kitchen under the guidance of Volunteer Coordinator Isabella and working at Nuflours Bakery, a gluten-free bakery in Capitol Hill, where she helps with food prep, learns the tricks of the gluten-free baking trade, and works in customer service.

Fun fact: Kara is an extremely talented poet.

Zak Oehrke – Administrative Apprentice

Zak is the first to hold the brand-new position of Administrative Apprentice. For 10 hours each week, he learns the ins-and-outs of airplane manufacturing at the Tukwila-based Rainier Rubber, where he hopes to continue working after completing his apprenticeship.

Fun fact: Zak served in the U.S. Army!

Michael Diop – Street Bean Barista Apprentice

Michael has been consistent and hard-working during his first few weeks at Street Bean. His friendly demeanor makes him a big hit with customers! He also a resident of the Nest.

Fun fact: Michael is a master at karaoke.

Riley Clerget – Street Bean Barista Apprentice

Nest resident Riley is hardworking and eager to learn. Not only does she have two jobs, she’s also looking forward to attending college this fall.

Fun fact: Riley’s favorite movie is Ratatouille.

Nathaniel Rhynsburger – Street Bean Barista Apprentice

Nathaniel is extremely intelligent, articulate, and a skilled communicator – all qualities that poise him for success in this customer service role.

Fun fact: Nathaniel hopes to pursue a college degree in Library Science!

Adam Livesay – Street Bean Roaster Apprentice

As an avid coffee lover, Adam has been a great fit for the roasting apprenticeship where he gets to learn the art of coffee roasting and the technical side of making Street Bean’s coffee so delicious. (P.S. – You can now buy bags of Apprentice Roast signed by Adam at Street Bean Belltown!)

Fun fact: His favorite food is pancakes and his favorite music is AC/DC.


We are so excited to have Alicia and these seven talented young people working with us for the next few months. Join us in wishing them well and don’t forget to stop by Street Bean & Nuflours the next time you need some caffeine and a sweet treat!

New HorizonsMeet the Summer 2017 YEP Apprentice Cohort
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What You Need to Know about the 2017 Count Us In Report

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For several years, Count Us In, King County’s one-night count of homeless and unstably housed individuals, returned the same numbers: there were somewhere around 800-850 youth on the streets in King County, with at least 200-300 of them spending each night in alleyways, under bridges, in cars, or in tents.

Curiously, as we and other youth service providers added more youth-specific shelter beds, that number remained mostly unchanged.

Now, we know why.

This year’s count was conducted using updated methodology from previous years. All Home, the agency that manages the survey, employed guides for each survey group who were currently or had recently experienced homelessness to canvass census tracts, rather than sending out volunteer teams to pre-identified “known areas” frequented by those living on the streets as they had in previous years. The result was a strikingly different count, particularly of youth and young adults.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the notable findings in the 2017 report:

There are close to 12,000 people experiencing homelessness in King County.

The count returned the exact tally of people (of any age) living on the streets at 11,643. A slightly larger half of those (53%) are sheltered in emergency or transitional shelters, while a slightly smaller half is unsheltered, meaning they live on the streets, in an abandoned building, out of a motor vehicle of some kind, or in a tent.

Those identified as homeless are mostly from King County.

77% of survey participants were residents of King County when they lost their housing. Only 9% reported living in another state at the time of entry onto the streets.

People of color are disproportionately affected.

While African-Americans make up just 6% of King County’s population, 29% of Count Us In respondents were African American. Similarly, when comparing representation among the homeless population vs. general population: Hispanics made up 14% compared to 9%; American Indian/Alaskan Native comprised 6% compared to 1%; and multi-racial participants made up 15% compared to 6%.

We previously underestimated the number of homeless or unstably housed youth by over 75%.

Count Us In 2017 tallied 1,498 unaccompanied youth and young adults between ages 13-25. This dramatic change is not due to an increased presence of youth on the streets but is believed to be more accurate count due to this year’s improved data collection methods.

Over 75% of these youth are unsheltered.

Even when we believed there were only 200-300 youth on the streets each night (and not sleeping on a friend’s couch or in a car, etc.), we knew the number of youth-specific beds was insufficient to meet the need. This year’s findings only confirm and make more urgent the need to provide more youth-friendly housing in Seattle and King County, since Count Us In showed that over 75% of the youth surveyed spend their nights on the streets, in abandoned buildings, in a tent, or in a car.

Many youth move from foster care to the streets.

While 19% of all individuals on the streets reported a history of foster care, 29% of youth under age 25 and 33% of those identifying as LGBTQ said they’d spent time in foster care. Many of these youth age out of their foster homes at 18 and have nowhere else to go.

Youth identifying as LGBTQ make up nearly one-third of the homeless young adult population.

As we have long known, youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer are much more likely to end up homeless than their heterosexual counterparts; however, this year’s report shows a higher percentage (29%) of LGBTQ youth on the streets than before.

What do these findings mean for us?

This year’s report comes as a wake-up call for everyone concerned with empowering youth and young adults into their best possible futures.

The report also demonstrates that, while the number of youth is higher than previously thought, there is hope. Local government and service providers’ focus on housing homeless families has resulted in 97% of those families receiving housing. This focus can bring our young adults inside, as well.

If we focus on early intervention for youth and young adults the same way we have focused on families, we create the opportunity for them to escape chronic homelessness and live full, healthy lives as fulfilled, contributing citizens.

Thank you for your partnership that has already opened 34 shelter beds at New Horizons in the last two years. With more efforts like these and friends like you, we truly believe we can make a significant impact for our teenagers and young adults whose circumstances have left them to live on our streets.

With your help, we believe we can continue making a difference – enough of a difference that no child, teenager, or young adult has to call King County’s streets home.

Read the full Count Us In report here.

New HorizonsWhat You Need to Know about the 2017 Count Us In Report
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Nuflours, New Horizons, and a New Apprenticeship Opportunity

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“Elbow five, Grace!”

Gloved hands in the air, covered in icing and crumbles from the hazelnut brownies they’d just finishing cutting, Grace and Phebe smiled widely as they jokingly tapped elbows like hands in a high-five.

This kind of goofy exchange and bright-eyed encouragement is common at Nuflours Gluten-Free Bakery; that’s part of what makes it such an inviting space.

That, and the fact that co-owners Amanda & Phebe are using their business to enrich our community by partnering with us in our newest endeavor: an apprenticeship that prepares youth to work in the food-service & baking industry.

Grace, the recipient of that elbow five, is the first Nuflours & New Horizons kitchen apprentice.

Phebe looks on as Grace learns the art of making pristinely cut brownies.

THE BEGINNING OF AN EXCITING PARTNERSHIP
Nuflours began popping up at farmer’s markets and selling wholesale in 2011 until its first storefront opened in 2014. Since then, their reputation for making some of Seattle’s finest baked goods has catapulted them to gluten-free pastry stardom and grown their start-up into a thriving business.

But Amanda & Phebe didn’t only want a successful bakery – they wanted to use their success to help others and to encourage upward mobility for young people whose backgrounds might not have afforded the same opportunities as theirs.

Pictured left to right: Amanda, Grace, and Phebe.

Fast-forward to 2016: as we were working out the kinks of the kitchen apprenticeship we’d begun in 2016 with the hope of offering food service experience in our commercial kitchen, Amanda had an idea baking in the oven: she was searching online for organizations to partner with, particularly those that worked with youth, and she found us.

She attended a community tour, shared her idea with us, and shortly thereafter, our kitchen apprenticeship moved to a Capitol Hill kitchen that smells like it’s blessed daily by God Himself, where Grace now reports for duty and dons a flour-spattered apron a few times each week.

BUILDING IN-DEMAND SKILLS
This new apprenticeship will be similar to Street Bean’s, but in lieu of barista talents Grace will be honing skills in gluten-free product preparation and baking, skills that will give her indispensable experience in an industry that’s only getting more popular.

And her training seems to be off to a quite a start.

Both Amanda and Phebe heaped Grace with unsolicited praise, lauding her natural abilities in the bakery. They shared that very few people begin with the talent Grace brings to the job, especially when it comes to details like icing and adding finishing touches to brownies like the ones that prompted the elbow five.

Grace one day hopes to open her own bakery, and this apprenticeship is the beginning of a path that could make that dream a reality, all while helping Grace earn a stipend and work toward more immediate stability. It’s the beginning of a partnership we hope many youth will benefit from as they work toward stability.

And that, I think, is worthy of an elbow five.


Check out Nuflours online and pay them a visit in Capitol Hill soon, where your treat may’ve been made by Grace!

New HorizonsNuflours, New Horizons, and a New Apprenticeship Opportunity
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More Youth on the Streets Makes Your Partnership Mean More than Ever

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Friends,

We had some shocking news this month.

Thanks to new & improved methods to gather data, including the employment of current or recently homeless individuals, this year’s Count Us In survey, a county-wide tally of homeless or unstably housed persons, produced far different results than previous years.

What we learned is that there are far more youth spending their time on the streets than we previously thought.

There are almost 1,500 homeless people under the age of 25, and 1,142 of them have nowhere to go but the streets. This number is almost double the number counted in past years. In fact, more than 20% of those sleeping outside in King County today are 24 or younger.

Although the need is great, you make a difference. Every day, you continue to offer least 34 of those youth the opportunity to escape the streets.

In the last two years, your partnership has created space for New Horizons to offer overnight shelter to youth with nowhere else to go, both in The Nest and in the Young Adult Emergency Shelter.

Since you’ve helped create these opportunities for youth, over 300 different young people have found refuge in The Nest and in the Emergency Shelter. But these youth have found much more than sleep. They’ve also received support and friendship from staff, a place to store their things regularly, and for many of them, a path to more stable housing. Your support has paved a pathway that more than 60 youth have traveled, moving from the downstairs shelter to The Nest to their own housing in just a few months.

Knowing that so many youth are stranded on the streets, your partnership means more than ever.

As we approach the end of our fiscal year on June 30th, we need to ensure we can continue to offer a place of refuge, relationship, and rest for the many youth seeking to exit the streets.

Though we can’t offer shelter to every single young person without a home, we can continue being good stewards of the 34 beds we currently have as we look toward opportunities to offer more in the future.

One way you can help us is by becoming part of the Home Team: the team youth can count on for a home. These are the dedicated folks who give $1 a day to help guarantee youth have a place to sleep at New Horizons. By giving $30 monthly, you make it possible for youth to sleep soundly off the streets and support them on their journey off the streets.

By signing up for the Home Team before June 30th, you’ll help us better prepare for the next fiscal year by allowing us to budget more efficiently, which helps us use your gifts in the most effective way possible for youth who come to New Horizons for refuge off the streets.

Thank you for your compassion in the face of our community’s need. Though the numbers from this year’s Count Us In survey may be discouraging, your partnership gives us hope that these homeless kids on our streets will not be forgotten or overlooked, but taken in and given the chance at a full, happy life.

With gratitude,

Mary Steele, Executive Director

P.S. If you don’t want to make a monthly gift, any gift will make a difference. $30 covers one guest’s stay in The Nest for a night, while $360 covers all twelve guests’ needs for a night. $500 covers the monthly cost for showers for guests in both shelters, and $800 pays the monthly food bill.

Thank you for partnering with us to be a place of refuge for youth on our streets!

 

 

New HorizonsMore Youth on the Streets Makes Your Partnership Mean More than Ever
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Anthony’s Journey to Sobriety

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It was nearly a year ago that Anthony sat across from me in Street Bean’s Belltown coffee shop. That day, he was just shy of the 60-day mark into his seventh journey toward sobriety in just 23 years, but he was optimistic about the future.

He’d been on the streets since his mid-teens, raised by two parents who struggled with the demons of addiction that then made a home in their son. His father taught Anthony to smoke marijuana at age eight. By 18, Anthony was homeless, addicted to heroin, and had a criminal record, not because he was a bad kid – but because he simply didn’t know a different life to live.

“I never thought I’d be anything other than an addict. That’s what I saw my family doing, so that’s what I thought I would do.”

But that was a year ago.

Today, Anthony is a familiar face around New Horizons, though his role here has shifted significantly since he’s been around.

When he first came to New Horizons, he attended Drop-In and worked with a case manager for a while, until he was hired as a facilities apprentice and later as a Street Bean apprentice.

Apprentices are guaranteed a space in The Nest, our 12-bed transitional shelter, so once he was hired at Street Bean, Anthony would be stably housed and employed for the first time in a long time for at least six months.

During those six months, he excelled in every way.

He was such a standout that, after his apprenticeship was finished, Street Bean hired him as a full-time employee. He received transitional housing with the help of his case manager while faithfully attending weekly drug court appointments and daily Narcotics Anonymous meetings.

And thankfully, none of his dedication has returned empty.

Today, quite some time after he told me that there was a time in his life he didn’t think he’d ever go 24 hours without using, Anthony is a week away from his one-year anniversary of sobriety.

After a shift of work recently, he reflected on the milestone at my desk.

“I made it to 24. That’s amazing. I should’ve died – not because I want to, you know, but because what I was doing was so dangerous – way before 24. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but reflecting on where I used to be compared to where I am now keeps me going. I never want to go back to where I used to be.”

Not only is he nearly one-year sober, but Anthony is stably housed, a handful of court appointments away from a having his criminal record wiped clean, and is just past another one-year anniversary: his employment with Street Bean.

“I’ve never had a job for that long,” he said with a small grin and chuckle, slinging his backpack over his shoulder, the grin lingering as he gave a signature nod and headed out the door.


We’re grateful to have played a supportive role in Anthony’s journey off the streets – not just that we have been able to offer housing, case management, and job training along the way, but also that we’ve had the joy of befriending this young man who has overcome so many seemingly impossible obstacles to get to the place he is now.

We’re fortunate that, at least for today, that place continues to be with us at Street Bean and New Horizons.

New HorizonsAnthony’s Journey to Sobriety
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We want to get 450 youth off the streets in 100 days.

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New Horizons is honored to be part of a statewide coalition of youth service providers, led by A Way Home Washington, that have accepted a challenge to house 450 youth in King County in 100 days.

These accelerated efforts will specifically aim to house our most vulnerable: the approximately 282 young people who are not currently accessing shelter in King County and spend most of their time on the streets.

To say the least, this is a lofty goal.

But in a county that grows increasingly crowded by the day, there is a decreasing amount of low-income housing available to our most vulnerable children and youth, and we believe we have the power to do more for these young people whose lives are put on hold by the instability caused by even a brief experience with homelessness.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

Because low-income housing options are limited, this effort will only be successful through the generosity of our friends and partners.

One primary way we hope to accomplish our goal of housing 450 at-risk and homeless young adults is through Accelerator YMCA’s Host Homes program.

Host Homes are those families, couples, or individuals who have a spare room in their house and are willing to host a young person for six months while they work toward their own sustainable housing. Youth housed by the program work closely with a case manager while living in a Host Home, and hosts are provided a stipend to support extra costs in addition to staff support from New Horizons and YMCA to answer questions or address concerns.

The YMCA’s extensive screening process selects youth candidates referred by case managers from places like New Horizons to be matched with potential hosts. If you’re interested in helping us house 450 youth in 100 days by becoming a Host Home, use the form below to speak with someone and learn more about the Host Homes program.

We believe we can accomplish this goal with your help. To learn more about the 100-Day Challenge, visit A Way Home Washington’s page and join the conversation on social media at #WAChallengeAccepted.


Host Homes Interest Form

How did you hear about Host Homes?
YMCA's websiteYMCA's social mediaNew Horizons' websiteNew Horizons' social mediaFlyersFriend/Word-of-mouthInternet Search

New HorizonsWe want to get 450 youth off the streets in 100 days.
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Celebrating One Year of YAES: the Young Adult Emergency Shelter

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Not long ago, television producer and writer Shonda Rhimes wrote a New York Times bestseller called Year of Yes, in which she reflects on the many ways saying yes positively impacted her life.

It’s difficult to believe, but one year ago New Horizons said yes to opening the Young Adult Emergency Shelter, which we’ve conveniently abbreviated to sound like a most enthusiastic agreement – YAES.

It’s a little different than Shonda’s, but this has been our Year of YAES, and saying yes to the YAES has undoubtedly made a positive impact on youth at New Horizons during the last year.

Because of your support and a partnership with Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission, we opened the shelter this time last year in our Drop-In Center, offering a safe, warm place to sleep five nights per week.

Though we began with 18 beds, the shelter was immediately popular, reaching capacity nearly every night once word got out among youth on the streets. After just two months we added two more beds and finally reached our current capacity of 22 beds late last year.

To celebrate our first year of emergency shelter, we collected a few highlights for you:

1. The YAES has provided a path off the streets for at least 23 young people.

Perhaps the most incredible thing your support has made possible through the YAES is that it’s provided a real path off the streets for real people. Youth who were on the streets at this time last year had few with few options for employment, housing, or school.

Thankfully, they found a place to stay and a brief respite from the streets at New Horizons. Eventually, they found much more.

For 23 youth, the YAES was the first step on their path out of homelessness.

Through the YAES, twenty-three youth learned about the Nest, our 12-bed transitional housing program. Each of them moved into the Nest, and 14 have already found permanent housing, now living completely on their own.

Several local news stations featured the opening of the YAES last February, including KUOW, Kiro TV, KOMO, and King5. Photo: KUOW

2. The YAES provided safety from the streets 4,146 times.

That’s 4,146 times a young person laid her head to sleep on a pillow instead of concrete. 4,146 times youth had a place to fall asleep knowing that they and their belongings were safe. 4,146 times youth could rest well and without fear before a full day of work or school.

To us, that alone is priceless.

But YAES has offered more than just sleep.

It’s been a place for 208 individual young people to have a snack, to share what’s on their mind with a trustworthy staff person, or to experience the privilege and relaxation of doing nothing but watch a movie or TV show for an hour or two, free from worry or stress.

Giving to New Horizons makes it possible for youth to leave the streets for a new future.

Shy has used the shelter as she’s worked two jobs to save money to afford her own place.

3. YAES met an existing need for youth-specific overnight shelter beds in Seattle.

Currently, more than 850 youth are without a stable home each night in King County, and as many as 250-300 of those are on the streets with nowhere else to go.

With fewer than 100 shelter beds available to youth prior to 2016, the YAES created more opportunities for those young people to have a safe place to sleep at night.


None of us this would be possible without your continued partnership through financial gifts, volunteer hours, and prayers, so give yourself a pat on the back for a great first year of YAES at New Horizons.

We look forward to many more years of saying yes to services and programs that positively impact the lives of youth seeking to exit homelessness in Seattle. Thanks for making shelter possible for so many young people this year.

Want to partner with us to continue making a difference to homeless youth in Seattle?

1. Make a gift. A gift of $50 helps us keep the lights on (and off for a large portion of the night) during shelter for one night, in addition to helping with youth’s laundry & showers, regular upkeep of beds, and dinner and breakfast. 

2. Help us fluff our pillows. We’re no five-star hotel, but we do like to keep our pillows nice for our guests – and after a year of use, ours could use a little help. If you’d like to donate a new pillow or two for youth in the YAES, click here to purchase them from our Amazon Wishlist. They’ll ship directly to our office!

3. Join the Home Team. If you’d like to offer ongoing support, we’d love to have you on our Home Team. Click here to learn more.

New HorizonsCelebrating One Year of YAES: the Young Adult Emergency Shelter
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10 Days of Praise Breaks: Our 2016 in Review

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Christmas is the perfect time of year to grab a hot chocolate, bundle up by a warm fire, and reflect on everything that’s happened in the past twelve months.

While it’s usually a more personal endeavor, we decided to do a little reflecting with our staff in order to highlight and give thanks for some of the big and small successes we’ve seen at New Horizons this year – and so this list was born, full of anecdotes, small wins, and highlights from our Direct Service and Housing staff.

We’d like to share it with you day-by-day until the end of the year, because without your partnership through donations, volunteering, and prayers, none of it would’ve been possible. Thanks for another great year at New Horizons.

In 2016, youth at New Horizons…

1. Didn’t have to endure difficult situations alone.

“A young man had to get surgery on his shoulder. I was able to accompany him to the hospital, drive him home, and buy him some groceries so he had food to eat with his meds. It was an honor to help him in these tangible ways we all would need after a surgery.”

Time after time we’ve seen that positive relationships are essential to exiting the streets. Our case managers work long, odd hours to care for and journey alongside young people through every kind of situation, like making sure youth get to court appointments, taking them to get necessary government documents, helping with job and housing applications, or going out to lunch to catch up and offer a listening ear.

Relational disconnection is a cruel consequences of homelessness, so whenever possible, we hope to offer the powerful gift of presence. We’re grateful that we were able to do that this year.

2. Reclaimed their God-given worth and value.

“Sitting in the doctor’s office, a female client disclosed her past sexual abuse and how hard it is for her to see her body as having worth. She said that being at New Horizons has helped change her view of her body. She no longer feels dread as she gets dressed. In her words, ‘I used to try to dress in a way that attracted sexual attention, even though I knew that deep down, that wasn’t what I wanted. It didn’t make me happy.’ Now, she feels joy as she gets dressed. ‘It’s a way for me to express my creativity and personality!’ This young woman is now enrolled in trauma therapy, and caring for her body well—all while being enrolled full-time in school and holding a part-time job.”

This kind of story makes every hour of work worth it. It’s an honor and joy seeing young men and women come to see themselves as beautiful, valuable, and lovable.

3. Took miraculous steps toward sobriety.

“George has made a complete 180! When we met him he seemed unreachably deep in the co-occurring grip of drug addiction and severe bipolar disorder. His infectiously endearing and hilarious personality still shone through so that we all fell in love with him, but were that much more saddened by his debilitating and seemingly hopeless situation. But Lo! In the last month George has made a miraculous transition into sobriety and mental health! He has connected with mental health services and is receiving the proper medication to aid him in living his life well and being his full self, and he has successfully moved into Phoenix Rising(!) where he has his very own brand new furnished studio directly across the street from a clinic that specializes in serving youth with co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders. George is housed, in his right mind, applying to jobs and college, and more delightful, hilarious and bright as ever.”

Very few people on the streets use substances purely for recreation. When you’re living on the streets, it might be too dangerous to sleep – so perhaps you take something to help you stay awake to fend off any potential threats to your safety. Or, on the other hand, maybe you’ve been too anxious to sleep – you simply take a drug to help you rest.

While youth may not desire to use substances, it’s an unfortunate reality of homelessness for some people. When addiction rears its head, it can be devastating, especially when a young person is dealing with mental illness. We have the privilege of loving and journeying alongside youth every day working hard to overcome their dependence on substances and to help them get connected to resources for success. George’s story gives us hope for this difficult battle.

4. Found new life through job training and case management.

“Britney has impressed us all with her incredibly hard work as a Street Bean apprentice – breaking multiple records, including top pastry sales and fastest milk steaming mastery achievement – while simultaneously kicking trauma and addiction’s butt, making great strides in personal therapy and maintaining a joyful sobriety. And she secured full time work as a server and bar tender at a hotel in Queen Anne, and has successfully moved into her very own apartment!! Way to go Britney! If anyone qualifies to be a New Horizons “poster child,” it is her. New Horizons has been the solid foundation for an amazing transition from the streets and all its entanglements to a sustainable, fulfilling, and free life.”

We are so grateful for Britney, her story, and the joy she brought to our office and to Street Bean this year!

5. Benefitted from increased mental health access.

“One young woman has successfully enrolled in counseling with our partner Ryther therapist, Kian. They meet weekly and the young person is very engaged in the process of becoming more mentally healthy.”

This year, we were incredibly grateful to add regular mental health counseling to our services for young people through a partnership with Ryther, a mental health resource center for children and families. Kian, our counselor picture below, sees multiple clients each week and has been a tremendous resource for youth at New Horizons. Like the young woman mentioned above, many youth have seen improvement with anxiety, depression, and other mental health challenges since our partnership with Ryther.

6. Took small steps toward big success.

“A young man who has been couch surfing for months heard about us through his college program, Year Up. We completed an intake and he talked about wanting to change his life. “I don’t want to be this angry; I don’t want to drink as much as I do. I want to finish my program and get a job in the IT field. I know I need help to get there, though.” I have a lot of hope for this young man, and I was able to connect him to resources right away.”

Sometimes it takes a few years to learn what you want and don’t want, no matter who you are or where you live. We see the same thing with youth – sometimes the independence of life on the streets seems better than being tied down by external obligations, but often as youth age they begin to see that homelessness is not the future they desire for themselves. A willing heart goes a long way toward success, and we’re happy to be there when youth decide to pursue other options than life on the streets.

7. Developed trust with staff.

“A young person told me I’ve earned their trust after disclosing that she’s never really had an adult that she’s trusted before. She told me, ‘I trust you have my best interest in mind.’ It’s difficult to measure success sometimes with relational work like ours, but I consider building healthy, trusting relationships like this one of the biggest factors in a young person’s future success.”

We can’t overstate how much of an honor it is to walk alongside young people as safe, trusted adults. With a large percent of youth homelessness resulting from broken relationships with adults, any trust capital we earn is a success. We work diligently to be people of integrity and character, so stories like these are encouraging and inspiring.

8. Found relationships that feel like family.

“I love the story of the young woman who found refuge here on Thanksgiving at the Nest. Sitting around the dinner table with staff and other residents, she shared that while ‘we may not be actual family here, it feels like family in the Nest.'”

Our ultimate goal is always family reunification. A best case scenario of our work is that young people are reconciled with their families and able to go home to a safe, loving environment. Unfortunately, that isn’t always possible. So with the Nest now open for over a year, we celebrate that, for those who aren’t able to go to a safe home, our space has grown to feel like one, filled with people who feel like family.

We’re grateful we’ve started family meals, where each month we gather around the table to share a meal and hear someone’s story, then respond by asking each other a question to reflect on together. We’re thankful that we’ve had staff who love our youth so much that they’ve requested to be here with them on special holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, and even more thankful that their eagerness to be here meant we could open our space to those young people who had nowhere else to go.

All of this is possible thanks to you, our extended family of supporters, donors, and volunteers.

9. Didn’t have to sleep outside as much as they did in 2015.

Thanks to our partnership with Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission and support from people like you, we’ve now been able to offer 20 beds to young people on the streets five nights a week since February.
 
The Young Adult Emergency Shelter has provided warmth on cold nights, sleep for tired bodies, and safety from dangerous streets, and we’re excited to continue to offer shelter in the YAES and the Nest for a long time to come with your support!

10. Found old and new places to call home away from New Horizons.

“An 18-year-old young woman was able to move out of The Nest and into an apartment by her college in Auburn.  Her new housing setup reminds me of some of mine in college.  I truly believe this young woman will not end up homeless again. And there are so many other success stories of people moving from the streets to new life – we spoke with the parents of a 16-year-old, and ended up sending the daughter home. We helped two young people move into their own independent apartment. We helped several young people move into transitional housing. It’s been a great year.”

Like we mentioned before in this post, one of our ultimate best-case scenarios is when a young person can be safely reunited with their family. Another is when our services allow a young person to become fully self-sustaining and healthily functioning without us. While we adore the youth we work with, we ultimately hope they’ll stop coming to New Horizons because they’ve taken steps to eliminate their need to use our services.

We love acting as a temporary home, but we don’t hope to be someone’s only home. We hope they’ll find fullness of life on their own.

This year, we’ve seen youth find permanent or transitional housing, reconcile with their families, or both. We’ve been privileged to play a part in that work through relationships and resources, and your support has made it all possible.


Considering how God has worked in 2016 at New Horizons, we can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2017. Thank you for your support and your care for youth on Seattle’s streets. Happy New Year!

New Horizons10 Days of Praise Breaks: Our 2016 in Review
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How the Seahawks’ win over the Dolphins reminded me of our work with youth experiencing homelessness

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I wasn’t able to watch the Seahawks’ home opener, so when I saw that the score was much closer than anticipated, I was eager to read a solid game summary that would explain to me exactly why.

That’s how I came across this headline this morning from The Seattle Times:

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I’m assuming most of you watched the game and know what happened, but for those who do not: the article recapped a game full of miscues, unmet offensive expectations, and setbacks for the Hawks that lasted until the final drive of the game, where the offense drove 75 yards down the field to score a touchdown in the final seconds to pull off a fairly miraculous win.

While this was great news – we all love a Seahawks W – what struck me as most remarkable was what coach Pete Carroll contributed to the team’s success. Sports writer Bob Condotta put it this way:

The Seahawks again demonstrated Sunday what coach Pete Carroll believes is one of their greatest strengths — belief. “There’s a belief that we can do it, and if we only have (4:08) left and 75 yards, it doesn’t matter,” Carroll said. “That’s a really powerful thing for a team.”

One might think the coach of a professional football team would credit such a victory to the the hours of practice, the extraordinary natural talent of his players, or some other seemingly obvious, football-related characteristic, yet according to him, it was belief that gave the Hawks the edge to win.

I couldn’t help but think of how the same is true for young people that come to New Horizons.

Much of our work with youth experiencing homelessness is about connecting people to the opportunity to succeed, which looks different for everyone. For some, that means a stable enough place to sleep so they can work consistently. For others, it’s having the opportunity to work in a job training program to develop a skill that translates into long-term employment.

In a sense, we’re trying to equip young people with life skills and opportunities to leave the streets the way football practice equips the Seahawks for tough games – yet even tangible things like job interviews, housing, or hot meals can fail to forge a path to success when the odds are stacked against you.

Sometimes, what a young person needs to succeed is someone to help them believe success is possible.

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Belief is the extra umph someone needs to overcome obstacles that arise when everything else fails. If we equip someone with a sense of belief in their potential, it may carry them through the many setbacks that occur when they try to move forward, like rejection when applying for jobs, setbacks with the legal system, or relational issues at home.

Just like it was a really powerful tool for the Seahawks, belief is a tremendously valuable asset for a young person trying to exit the streets.

That’s why we place so much emphasis on relationships at New Horizons.

By cultivating positive, trusting friendships, youth have a place to vent their frustrations, talk about their failures, and receive encouragement, just like football players in the huddle before a 4th-and-2 situation shout positive things at each other like, Let’s go, man! It’s our time! We got this!

Spending time with young people at Drop-In or in The Nest is our time in the huddle, time to reflect to young people what is already true about them: that they can do anything, that success is possible, and that if they don’t quit fighting, they can win.

And just like the Seahawks final drive on Sunday, it’s inspiring to watch what happens when young people begin to believe.

Thanks for making it possible for us to be in relationship with real winners. Please join us in praying for them to know the power of believing in their God-given potential.

-meredith, marketing coordinator

P.S. Is it a coincidence that our main man, NH supporter Doug Baldwin, caught the game-winning pass? We don’t think so. Go Doug!

New HorizonsHow the Seahawks’ win over the Dolphins reminded me of our work with youth experiencing homelessness
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New Horizons Awarded City of Seattle’s $10,000 Technology Grant

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This week we were honored to receive a $10,000 grant from the City of Seattle that will fund computers for our Drop-In Center and allow us to implement computer literacy training for youth seeking to exit the streets.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray presented the grant to our Development Officer, Mark, in a ceremony on Wednesday that was broadcast on live on the Seattle Channel. The grant is part of a $320,000 Digital Equity Initiative that seeks to provide technology resources and training to underserved populations in Seattle by awarding ten different organizations with funding.

In GeekWire’s report on the Initiative, Mayor Murray explained, “Technology impacts nearly every facet of our lives, from finding jobs to thriving in school. Our investment in these community driven projects will open the door to greater success for Seattleites who lack sufficient technology access and essential digital skills.”

The Seattle Public Library will be supplying teachers for the trainings. We can’t wait to begin offering valuable computer skills training to young people who access services at New Horizons!

You can view all the images from the presentation of the grants here.

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New HorizonsNew Horizons Awarded City of Seattle’s $10,000 Technology Grant
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