They are almost invisible but more than a million youths live on the
streets of our American cities, including Pasadena. To help these young
people salvage their lives, Learning Works Charter School in Pasadena
opened a drop-in center, Hope Works, for homeless youth, ages 17-23. The
school, which serves disengaged youth in grades 7-12, successfully
re-engages the drop-out population of Pasadena and graduates 100-plus
students a year.
"We've proven that the power of relationships in a judgment-free, safe haven pulls disenfranchised youth back into the mainstream," says Mikala Rahn, Founder/CEO "Our success with these young people makes us very excited about extending our approach to homeless youth."
Not surprisingly, she says, homeless youth have significant mental health problems, including depression, anxiety disorders, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), suicidal ideation, and substance abuse disorders.
"These youth struggle to recover from both previous and new traumatic experiences while trying to survive in a hostile street environment," Rahn says.
"Developmentally, homeless youth have different needs than older adult homeless, and require different intervention services," Rahn says. "Our Drop-In Center located across the street from the school will begin to address those specific issues."
Hope Works is looking for volunteers to help youth in their search for employment. Hope Works is housed in East Pasadena.
Volunteers are needed Monday through Thursday from 3-6 to assist homeless youth with job searches including filling out online applications, creating resumes, practicing mock interviews, and modeling basic dos' and don'ts of interviewing. Volunteers will serve to create a safe haven off of the street for youth. Tutors also needed.