Tag Archives: youth

New Year, New Hope, New Challenges

NEW YEAR, NEW HOPE, NEW CHALLENGES: A BLOG SERIES

By: Danni Eickenhorst, Midland Division

The bellringers who usher in the Christmas season so brightly with the jingle of their bell have put away their kettles for another year, but the Tree of Lights campaign continues through the end of January, and the work we do will continue for as long as there is support.

365 days a year, The Salvation Army provides homeless services, food pantry assistance, rent and utility supplements, youth programming, senior services, emergency disaster response, ministry and more. 82 cents of every dollar we receive from our donors goes directly into programming that changes lives in the St. Louis area.

Because the facts and figures for 2011 aren’t quite in yet, let’s take a look at the work of The Salvation Army in 2010.

In 2010, The Salvation Army’s Midland Division (Missouri and Southern Illinois):

  • Provided recreation opportunities at local community centers for 115,000 individuals, primarily low-income youth.
  • Assisted 170 individuals with more than 5,000 nights of transitional housing.
  • Distributed more than 39,000 toys at Christmas to children and families in need.
  • Served more than 50,000 people through feeding programs such as our community center soup kitchens located throughout the division.
  • Provided more than 170 individuals with access to affordable workforce housing in the Downtown St. Louis area through our Railton apartments.
  • Served 4,503 individuals at our Harbor Light facility which provides housing and rehabilitation services to veterans and homeless men.
  • Visited with and ministered to shut-ins, patients in hospitals, nursing homes and infirmaries. Distributed more than 27,000 gifts and publications to these individuals.
  • Gave more than 1,200 backpacks filled with school supplies to needy children who would otherwise have had to go to school without supplies.

In 2011, The Salvation Army Midland Division continued to provide service daily in all of these areas and more, as needed, while facing significant shortages and reductions in government support through tax credits and other programs. Individuals who once supported The Salvation Army financially began coming to seek out their own assistance and donations began to diminish. Natural disasters came in large numbers and epic proportions, and we answered the call to serve every time.

In order to continue being good stewards of the gifts God and donors provide, The Salvation Army cannot spend money than it receives in donations. Because of the reduction in support and the increase in need, we have had to turn away more and more requests for assistance, and it breaks the hearts of our staff and officers to have to do so.

We are hopeful that in 2012 we will begin to see a groundswell of support, that as we share the stories of the work we do, hearts will be touched and support will be given so that we can continue to change lives throughout the New Year.

Exciting work is being done in the St. Louis area and we are proud to be doing it. Thank you for your support, whether it be in spirit, in time or in dollars given. We simply couldn’t do it without you.

To find out more about how you can get involved in helping us in 2012, please click here.

To learn more about The Salvation Army’s programs, click here.

Empty Kettles: When The Salvation Army can no long help

On this Christmas Eve and final day of kettle season, we wanted to share the story of Kimberly, a woman we met last week who we were unable to help due to our limited resources. Please give generously today and always. Visit http://www.stlsalvationarmy.org to make a donation online.

A Partner in Parenting Today’s Homeless Youth

In recognition of National Homeless Youth Month, we are featuring the work of Shalonda Haynes, Educational Coordinator for our Family Haven Shelter.

By: Danni Eickenhorst, Midland Division

The Salvation Army’s Family Haven shelter houses between 40 and 50 homeless children at any given time. “Most of our families have been doubled up with another family, couch surfing as long as people are willing to put them up, and then they reach the end of the line with nowhere to go,” says Shalonda Haynes, Educational Coordinator for Family Haven.

“My job is to help our clients regain self-sufficiency, while looking out for their children,” she explains. Shalonda ensures that children that enter the shelter are enrolled in school within 24 to 48 hours of entry. “By law, these children are allowed to remain in their home school district, or they can transfer to Pattonville, our district. I assist the parents in making certain that they can get their children enrolled, and serve as the family’s advocate in the education process.”

At Family Haven, Haynes serves as an advocate for resident children in disciplinary processes, working to coordinate cooperative solutions between her families and schools, and ensuring that the rights of all parties are recognized throughout the process. Children who may have educational diagnoses or development delays are assessed by Haynes, and referred to the school district or Parents as Teachers for further analysis. Shalonda remains as involved as the parents’ wishes dictate throughout diagnoses and implementation of a formal education plan.

The typical stay for a family at Family Haven is less than 5 months, but Haynes continues to work with children and families long after they have left the shelter. “By helping the children, I am also helping the parents to parent better. I continue to be involved with these families for as long as they need me, to ensure that their needs are being met by schools, parents and the like.”

“Many of my parents are dealing with [the Department of Family Services]. I work with them to establish visitation, to strengthen their parenting skills through our mandatory parenting classes, and I accompany them to their court and administrative hearings to make sure they have someone who can explain their rights to them throughout the process,” she says, “These parents come into our shelter with a lot on their plate, and sometimes their children’s education takes a back seat. They are still wrapping their brains around being homeless, and we have to throw a lot of stuff at them upon arrival – tasks that need to be completed in a timely fashion in order to get them on their feet again. They need a partner to step in when they just cannot do it all.”

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