Graduating to the Next Step

YST’s Transitions program just celebrated an assortment of graduations of its clients. During the 2016-17 school year, 15 young people graduated from high school, alternative high school, tech school or an extended internship.

“The Transitions program averages 40 residents at any given time,” says Jordan Westbrook, YST’s Transitions Coordinator. “Close to 90 percent of our residents are involved in work or education. These recent graduates in particular are perfect examples of how the Transitions program provides much more than just housing. The support we provide young people to enter into productive adulthood is evident and clear through their accomplishments.”

Chasity is part of the most recent group of graduates. She recently completed her Associate’s at Tulsa Community College, and will enroll at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater this fall. She credits her participation in the Transitions program with changing her outlook on the future.

“It’s made a very positive impact on my life,” she says. “Before, I thought I wouldn’t be able to handle college. I had too much family stress. Too much of this and too much of that. The case managers helped me learn how to alleviate a lot of family stress from not setting boundaries. They helped me work through some things.”

Chasity’s situation wasn’t an uncommon one. During her adolescence, she dealt with home instability and the absence of parents. She took on responsibility for her younger family members, both financially and in terms of caretaking.

She was on the verge of living in her car when she applied to the transitions program.

“I remembered YST from Workforce. I’d visited there when I was 16,” Chasity says. “They got me in really quick, which I was happy about. I didn’t have anywhere else to go.”

Her new apartment afforded her a “place of calm.”

“Before, if I wanted any type of calmness, I had to go for a walk down by the river,” she says. “There were nights I didn’t want to go home because I didn’t want to deal with the stress. When I got in the program, everything calmed down for me. It encouraged me to go back to college.”

Now, she’s ready to take the next step. She’s looking for places to live in Stillwater, and plans to major in Marketing. She plans to someday own a business and has a lot of ideas about what kind. “I want to do something I’m passionate about and enjoy.”

She is grateful for what she got out of the Transitions program.

“If you want to be successful. If you want to do better and put yourself in a better position, you’ll benefit from the program. They have so many resources. Once you get a job, you can save so much money. If you had to pay for your own place, you’d be living paycheck to paycheck. You have the opportunity to set yourself up for the future.

“They encourage you when you’re down. If you don’t know what direction you want to go, they won’t make the choice for you, but they’ll help you figure it out. The YST staff, what we have offered to us, it’s a kind of security. It gives me someone to go to if I don’t know what to do.”

Jordan describes Chasity as the perfect Transitions program participant.

“She was a little lost, and searching for stability and support,” says Jordan. “The program was able to provide her with much more than just housing. She utilized all the resources TLP offers.

“Chasity is helpful to other youth in the program. She makes them feel welcome and supported. She has a strong relationship not just with her case manager, April, but with all the Transitions program staff. It’s not uncommon for anyone who happens to be working that day to come out and greet her.

“She’s a perfect example of how the Transitions program can provide youth with the support needed to eventually begin their journey as a productive adult.”

Kendra Gives Back - July 11, 2017

Tuesday July 11th 5-7pm

20% if all sales will be donated to YST!

Small bites and refreshments will be available as you shop.

Can't make it that day?  Call in your order on July 11th and they will donate 20% of your purchase!

 

National Safe Place Week, March 19-25

National Safe Place Week Celebrates Safe Place Program for Youth

Tulsa, Okla. March 17, 2017 – National Safe Place Network (NSPN) is pleased to announce March 19-25, 2017, as National Safe Place Week. The nationally recognized week serves to increase awareness about the Safe Place program, which brings together businesses and volunteers to provide help and safety for youth facing abuse, neglect, bullying or serious family problems.

“Unfortunately, young people face troubling issues in today’s world and it’s up to all of us to offer solutions, places where youth can go to get help,” said Laurie Jackson, President / CEO for NSPN. “National Safe Place Week is the perfect opportunity for communities across the country to assess and strengthen their safety net for youth.”

It is estimated that more than one million youth run away from home each year due to abuse, neglect, family conflicts and other issues. The Safe Place program is an option for young people who feel they have nowhere to turn.

Safe Place consists of a national network of nearly 20,000 partnering businesses and community locations – such as fast-food restaurants, convenience stores, fire stations, public buses, and libraries – that display the Safe Place sign in their windows. As youth enter the designated Safe Places and ask for help, trained staff members connect them to the appropriate youth shelter for assistance. National Safe Place Week recognizes participating Safe Place locations and volunteers for their unwavering dedication to the safety and well-being of at-risk youth.

The Safe Place program, partners with businesses and community organizations such as to provide immediate safety and support for local youth. Safe Place site locations include QuikTrip stores, Fire Stations, EMSA ambulances, Tulsa Transit buses and Tulsa City-County Libraries.

“Last year, more than 2,700 youth learned about Safe Place through presentations in the community and at local schools,” says David Grewe, YST executive director. “More than 115 of those youth accessed a Safe Place and received the help they needed in a crisis.”

The Safe Place program has helped more than 330,000 youth since its inception in 1983 and currently serves more than 1,400 communities across the country. It is managed by 133 youth agencies in 37 states and the District of Columbia.

In addition to Safe Place sites, youth may also access immediate help via TXT 4 HELP, a text-for-support service for youth in crisis. Teens can text the word “safe” and their current location (address, city, state) to 69866 and receive a message with the closest Safe Place location and the number for the local youth shelter. Users also have the option to text interactively with a mental health professional for more help.

 

About National Safe Place Network

National Safe Place Network (NSPN) provides quality training and technical support for youth and family service organizations across the country. Along with being a leading membership organization offering tailored organizational development, training and professional development packages, NSPN also operates the nationally-recognized programs Safe Place, Runaway and Homeless Youth Training and Technical Assistance Center (RHYTTAC), and Human Trafficking: Recognition, Respect, Response (HTR3). To learn more, please visit www.nspnetwork.org or www.nationalsafeplace.org.

Want to help? Youth Services needs Safe Place volunteers. Interested persons age 21 or older should contact Sarah Beers, Safe Place Coordinator, at sbeers@yst.org or 918.382.4479 to sign up for free training.

T-Town Tacos' Wes Rose Selected for National Program

REDF ANNOUNCES INAUGURAL COHORT OF THE SOCIAL ENTERPRISE FOR JOBS

ACCELERATOR PROGRAM

SAN FRANCISCO (October 6, 2016) - Today REDF announced its inaugural Social Enterprise for Jobs (SE4Jobs) Accelerator cohort of emerging leaders. The selected 18 participants, recognized from among more than 50 applicants across the nation, run double-bottom line businesses that support people facing the greatest barriers to employment. Program participants will apply skills to grow their social enterprises so they can impact more lives.

“Our Accelerator program is the first of its kind created to develop the future leaders of the social enterprise field on a national scale,” says Carla Javits, REDF CEO and president. “We want to strengthen the ability of social enterprise leaders to scale up their efforts to create jobs and provide support to people overcoming serious employment barriers like homelessness, incarceration, substance use and mental health struggles so they can be job-ready and achieve long-term employment success.”

Program participants will receive expert guidance on core business competencies and employee support programs, as well as the opportunity to build peer networks. The SE4Jobs Accelerator is an extension of REDF’s national Social Enterprise for Jobs network that was created in 2011 and is aligned with REDF’s national expansion and commitment to developing regional social enterprise ecosystems. The SE4Jobs Accelerator will be delivered in partnership with the Points of Light Civic Accelerator (CivicX), a national startup boot camp and investment fund for for-profit and nonprofit “civic ventures” that engage people to solve critical social issues. Since 2012, the Civic Accelerator has supported over 250 social entrepreneurs from across the country to scale their solutions to pressing social issues. 

“We are excited to expand our impact and bring our curriculum and learning to the REDF SE4Jobs Accelerator, as we partner to train and support leading innovators building sustainable solutions to workforce development,” said Ayesha Khanna, founder of the Points of Light Civic Accelerator.

Below is the list of the 18 participants in our first Social Enterprise for Jobs Accelerator cohort:

East Coast

·         AltheaBates, The Kitchen, Hartford, CT

·         Holly Shook, CUPs Coffeehouse, Baltimore, MD

·         Rae Gallagher, Flying Fruit, Baltimore, MD

Midwest

·         Jeremy                Haines, Reclaim Detroit, Detroit, MI

·         Bethany Palm, EmergeWORKS, Minneapolis, MN

·         Michelle Horovitz, Appetite For Change, Minneapolis, MN

·         Thomas Adams, Better Futures Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

·         Linda Kramer, Lindy and Company, Dayton, OH

South

·         Wesley Rose, T-Town Tacos, Tulsa, OK

·         Betty Kirkland, Project Return, Nashville, TN

West Coast

·         Sabrina Mutukisna, The Town Kitchen, Oakland, CA

·         Dana Frasz, Food Shift, Oakland, CA

·         Frank Ricceri, Growing Grounds, San Luis Obispo, CA

·         Hunter Tanous, Corners Cafe and YU Green, Oakland, CA

·         Kevin Rodin, LA Towel & Linen Service, Los Angeles, CA

·         Chrissy Padilla Birkey, Good Soil Industries, Los Angeles, CA

·         Shana Lancaster, Mamacitas Café, Oakland, CA

·         Ricardo Moreno, Verde Landscape, Portland, OR

 

“Participating in the REDF SE4Jobs Accelerator means access to mentors, entrepreneurs and content experts who truly understand our business model and will propel us to the next stage of growth,” said Sabrina Mutukisna, founder and CEO of Town Kitchen. “The heft and experience of REDF and particularly of SE4Jobs represents, for us, a huge repository of experience and expertise, as well as a ready-made pool of peers,” added Bettie Kirkland, Executive Director of Project Return.

In addition to supporting growth and providing valuable peer assistance for participants, the program will help those most in need of another chance in life. "Being part of the REDF SE4Jobs Accelerator cohort is going to be a game changer for Good Soil Industries,” said Chrissy Padilla Birkey, Executive Director, Good Soil Industries. “In the last year we have seen the need for second chance jobs increase in our community, and need all the help we can get to meet the demand.”

The SE4Jobs Accelerator program will be offered annually with the next application period opening in mid-2017.

About REDF

REDF creates jobs and employment opportunities for people facing the greatest barriers to work – like young people who are disconnected from school or work, people who’ve been homeless or incarcerated, and those with mental health or substance use challenges. Founded in 1997 by George R. Roberts (KKR), REDF provides funding and business expertise to mission-driven organizations around the country to launch and grow social enterprises, which are businesses with a “double bottom line” that make money and reinvest their revenue to employ and support more people. For more information, follow REDF on Twitter at @REDFworks or visit http://redf.org/redf-se4jobs-accelerator/.