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



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.

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.

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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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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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.


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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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.


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