Urban Youth

One in ten young adults experience #homelessness during one year, Chapin Hall finds

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A groundbreaking study released Nov. 15 by Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago reveals one in 10 young adults between the ages of 18 and 25, and at least one in 30 adolescents between the ages of 13 and 17, experience some form of homelessness over the course of a year.

This study captures youth homelessness broadly, including situations such as sleeping on the streets, in shelters, running away and couch surfing. “Missed Opportunities: Youth Homelessness in America” demonstrates the diverse circumstances of young people who experience homelessness, identifies who is most at risk and illuminates a nationwide problem cutting across rural and urban areas alike.

“We have a collective obligation to ensure all young people have a chance to succeed, starting from a young age,” said Bryan Samuels, executive director of Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago. “Intervening and building stability during adolescence and young adulthood for those at highest risk will have lifelong effects. As a country, we can look for the missed opportunities in schools, communities and public services to prevent youth homelessness.”

Chapin Hall’s national survey of 26,161 people offers new insight into the scope and urgency of youth homelessness in America, providing data to inform policy. The study found that that certain populations—specifically, African-American and Hispanic youths; young people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender; young parents; and those who have not completed high school—are statistically more likely to experience homelessness than their peers. The study also shows that young people living in rural and urban communities experience homelessness at similar rates.

#UrbanYouth Inc. celebrates 2 decades of providing an alternative to youth violence

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On Thursday, Urban Youth Incorporated celebrated 20 years of partnering with city and state officials to use youth sports as an alternative to violence, the streets, and delinquency. 

“It's all about the kids and keeping the kids out of trouble,” said Mark Sills, CEO of Urban Youth Inc. “We provide youth activities for kids to keep them off the streets and out of harm’s way.”

Back in 1997, Sills saw that, throughout Wilmington, teens with nothing better to do were heading down a negative and unproductive path all linked to boredom. To change that, he created Urban Youth, Inc. to give them an outlet to learn and play sports, like basketball.

Daria Rushdan knows the positive impacts this program can have; her daughter, Khadijah Rushdan, was a participant before heading to Rutgers, then going on to play in the WNBA for a year, drafted 15th overall in the 2nd round of 2012, then went on to coach after an injury stopped her from playing. 

“Bringing your child to this program and know that they are learning...and experiencing new things, is [a great feeling],” the elder Rushdan said. “It makes life more precious to them, instead of them taking it for granted.”

Because of their work, and the work of many volunteers and supporters, this once local program, has touched the lives of more than 45,000 youth across the US, Canada, and the Caribbean.

#Str8Up Life Ministries aims to empower Indy urban youth

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The mission of Str8Up Life Ministries is to help kids in urban communities break the cycle of poverty.

Now they’re looking to expand and help more kids in Indianapolis.

“There’s a sense of despondency right now in youth culture, especially in urban youth culture,” said Str8Up Life founder Aaron Wilson. “For our teens, Str8Up is a bright touch point every week.”

Aaron and Jill Wilson founded the organization 17 years ago to help urban youth living in poverty and the dangerous lifestyle that often comes with it.

It’s grown from their front yard into a youth mentoring camp that reaches about 1,000 kids a year.

“I really don’t know where I would be without them,” said 23-year-old Brionna Tyson, who started attending at 7-years-old. “It’s like you get church on Sundays, but through the weekdays you have Mr. Aaron and Miss Jill.. just so they can try to keep you away from the streets.”

The organization works with schools to reinforce lessons of leadership, academics and life skills in kids who often deal with poverty, broken homes, gangs and drugs.

They’ve inspired others to volunteer, like Pastor Kenneth Johnson, the Indianapolis Colts Chaplain.

Santa Cruz County targets youth homelessness

Santa Cruz’s new Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program members tested an idea on a group gathered downtown Friday: Youth homelessness is unacceptable and should be addressed immediately.

“We should be housing every youth we see. We should not be walking and stepping over the youth that are lying down or standing around who are homeless,” Santa Cruz County Human Services senior analyst Najeeb Kamil told a standing room-only crowd of more than 60 in a Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History conference room. “We should be interacting with them, we should be engaging them and thinking about, ‘How can I personally, in Santa Cruz County, contribute to this cause.’ ‘How can I end youth homelessness on an individual basis.’”

Such a perspective may have helped push Santa Cruz County into the final 10 communities nationwide selected from 130 applicants for the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Project. Looking to find new solutions for youth homelessness, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development granted a total of $33 million toward the 10 grantees to design and test strategies to end the problem.

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Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) Turn City Youth Into Artists

Art by Lajachanae Minter of East English Village Preparatory Academy is on display.  Rachel Woolf, Special to the Free Press

Art by Lajachanae Minter of East English Village Preparatory Academy is on display.  Rachel Woolf, Special to the Free Press

Kenneth Holloway never saw himself as an artist. But then his teacher, Gloria Byers, challenged him to create a piece of artwork using corrugated cardboard, a selfie, pastel chalk and other materials.

The result: A colorful self-portrait using mixed media that was so good, it was selected to be on display during the Detroit Public School Community District Student Exhibition at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

"It feels good to let people see my work, to see that it means something," said Holloway, 17, a senior at Osborn College Preparatory Academy.

His artwork is one of hundreds of pieces on exhibit beginning Saturday at the DIA, an annual display that gives students a unique opportunity to showcase their talent.

It's the 80th such exhibition at the museum, and is the longest-running partnership the DIA has with an educational organization. The Detroit Public Schools Foundation and the Ruth T.T. Cattell Education Endowment Fund funded the exhibition.

Follow the link for more photos and additional info.