New Horizons Programs
Outreach & Drop-In
Staff and volunteers walk through Downtown Seattle regularly to provide street kids with emergency supplies and establish new relationships. New Horizons then encourages kids to access services within its facility to further their journey away from the streets. In 2012, New Horizons met with 512 unique kids on the streets, providing them with connection, resources, and encouragement.
New Horizons’ Drop-In Center was developed to meet the essential needs of safety, community, and self-esteem. Staff and volunteers work four mornings and four evenings a week to provide kids with the opportunity to build meaningful relationships; rest in a safe environment; and access emergency services in the form of clothing, hygiene items, showers, laundry, and a meal. On average, approximately 220 kids access Drop-In each month. Last year 1,088 kids accessed Drop-In for a total of 12,329 visits.
Street kids spend a majority of their time struggling to remain safe and to meet their basic needs, leaving them little time to explore their gifts and dream about possibilities away from the streets. The Life Discovery program provides a vehicle for homeless youth to learn about themselves and considering their potential through opportunities such as art, whitewater rafting, and cooking. In 2012, New Horizons held 295 events with a total attendance of 1,349 youth.
Staff and volunteers build relationships with kids with the goal of equipping them to leave street life through the development of comprehensive support and referrals to key services. Case Managers empower youth to prioritize needs and connect them to resources that provide sustainable help. In 2012, 55 kids made 355 new goals in the areas of education, employment, alcohol treatment, housing, and mental health assistance, among others. Through work with Case Managers, 199 of those goals have been completed.
New Horizons’ Apprenticeship program uses a mentorship model to work with kids as they develop both life skills (such as hygiene, resume development, attendance, giving/receiving feedback), and hard skills directly related to the fields of customer service and facilities/maintenance. New Horizons’ Apprenticeship began as a social enterprise in late 2010 with Street Bean Espresso, a wholly owned subsidiary. More recently, the opportunities for apprenticeship have expanded to include positions within New Horizons itself.
Through Apprenticeship, kids who are ready and motivated to learn how to work partner with a Case Manager and a Job Coach. The Case Manager works alongside the apprentice to resolve barriers to employment such as a lack of housing, criminal warrants, and substance abuse issues. The Job Coach works with the apprentice in a supportive environment to identify their strengths and challenges while preparing an individualized program to prepare them for outside employment. The apprentices work scheduled, part-time hours, and receive a stipend. In addition to work hours, they also participate in life skills training classes throughout the course of their apprenticeships.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
New Horizons sees success every day, whether it is a new youth engaging in a conversation with one of our volunteers, or a young person obtaining sustainable employment to build toward self-sufficiency. Case Managers worked with kids to establish 355 new goals in 2012 in the areas of education, employment, alcohol treatment, housing, and mental health assistance, among others. Through encouragement, resources, and accountability, the organization watched as 199 of those goals were completed to date.
In 2012, New Horizons adopted a new strategic plan building on its core strength of partnership with street kids. The organization continues to provide meals, showers, and other basic needs as a gateway to more meaningful relationships, and the plan for 2013 is to both broaden and deepen the way it serves.
Currently, the organization’s biggest plan is to provide safe housing by the end of 2013. Kids can’t learn, work, or grow when they have no safe place to sleep. In Seattle tonight, too many kids will sleep outside because they have no other option. With the help of community members, donors, and volunteers New Horizons will step into that gap.
In addition to this major renovation, New Horizons Apprenticeship program is connecting Seattle’s street kids with experienced contractors to renovate the Drop-In Center. Projects include creating an always active computer lab; building a soundproof studio for the many talented kids to play and learn studio production; remodeling and updating the commercial kitchen used in the preparation and service of meals; and recreating the laundry, shower, and restroom facilities. In addition to creating a more usable space for the kids, these projects will provide valuable training to assist in obtaining sustainable employment.