City helps fund local nonprofit sheltering runaway, homeless girls
Journey Youth Coalition, Inc. is among five nonprofits to share $75,000 in Measure N youth grants awarded by City Council
VISALIA – The City of Visalia is already spending millions of dollars to address homelessness and the auxiliary problems that come from people living on city streets. And if you thought the city wasn’t doing enough, they just put another $20,000 toward trying to solve the issue.
That’s how much Journey Youth Coalition, Inc. received from the Visalia City Council on Dec. 3 as part of the city’s annual youth grants. In its application, the nonprofit stated it will use the grant for school outreach, specifically focusing on homeless teens. Journey Youth will also provide assistance to help teens obtain substance abuse treatment and scholarships for youth who are talented in arts, music, and writing.
“They are filling a need that had not been filled before,” Police Chief Jason Salazar said.
Established in 2017, Journey Youth Coalition operates Genesis House, a shelter for homeless and runaway female juveniles. Genesis House can provide shelter for girls between the ages of 14-17 for up to four months, depending on each youth’s individual service plan and exit options. Staying at the shelter is completely voluntary. Youth are not required to stay a minimum number of days and they may leave at any time.
The nonprofit provides at-risk youth with bus passes, therapy, tutors and supplies-including clothing, hygiene items, and back packs. They also do weekly outreach at Recreation Park, Manuel Hernandez Community Center, Skate Park, and other areas high risk youth congregate. For more information or to donate, visit www.genesis-house.org.
“They are a new entity and are a beneficial resource to the community,” said Visalia Police Chief Jason Salazar.
Journey Youth was one of five organizations to receive a piece of $75,000 in youth grants funded through Measure N, a half-cent sales tax approved by voters in 2016. The grants are open to all tax-exempt nonprofits with programs or services for people under the age of 18.
Once received, the applications were reviewed on whether they hit key markers, such as, targeting at-risk youth in grades 6th through 8th, how they assisted youth in envisioning their future, setting and achieving goals and more.
Arts Visalia received $5,000 and will use the funding for scholarships for at-risk youth in grades 6-8 identified and recruited through Family services of Tulare County, Parenting Network and CASA. The youth funded through this grant will attend weekly classes February through June 2019 and daily classes during the summer of 2019.
Their artwork will be displayed monthly. The program will challenge youth creativity through art related activities. Modeling of positive leadership by instructors and their assistants will encourage similar behaviors in the youth engaged in art activities.
The Boys & Girls Club pans on utilizing its $17,300 grant for transportation from Divisadero Middle School, Mountain View Elementary, Washington Elementary and Conyer Elementary schools to the Boys and Girls Club of Visalia.
A $7,700 grant to ProYouth will help the organization continue programs at the Wittman Community Center, including the Insight program, which is rooted in gang prevention education, in partnership with law enforcement agencies; and Pathways, which is an eight week project-based learning program that offers activities in computer science, health sciences, agriculture/environmental sciences, and arts/performing sciences.
Turning Point Youth Services (TYPS) will use its $25,000 grant to expand its current program for at-risk youth on Visalia middle school campuses by 90 minutes per week. The additional session will focus on life experiences and develop comprehensive skills in understanding the benefits of avoiding illegal, gang related, activities in their lives. TPYS currently provides life skills and insight training once a week for students referred to them by Visalia Unified School District because of risky behavior.