YR Drop-ins provide a safe, inclusive space during critical hours of the day for transitional age youth (ages 11-18). When youth walk through our doors we aim to build trust while empowering them to gain life, leadership, and employable skills along the way.
WHO ARE THE YOUTH WALKING THROUGH OUR DOORS?
Some are merely just shy and disengaged from mainstream school activities or sports and they are looking for a way out from feeling socially isolated. We also have youth who are looking for an outlet to be able to turn away from their old social groups who were making poor choices.
We are seeing youth who have been or are currently homeless or staying at the local shelter. They initially come to us wanting a positive, safe place to be. Many wish they could stay at the drop-in overnight as opposed to going back to their current situations. We are seeing these same youth choosing to participate in our leadership programs because they simply have "nothing better to do" and nowhere better to be so they would rather find purpose while at the drop-in.
Other youth are dealing with mental health issues (whether or not this is recognized, disclosed, or diagnosed by youth and families) and they need support with gaining coping skills and learning how to communicate in better ways with peers. Through building trusting relationships we can help them to understand the services that are available and empower them to advocate for their needs.
With plans to bring on new Peer Advocates (mentors), the first and most important qualifying factor we require is that our Advocates have lived experience in youth systems (mental health, substance abuse, or foster care etc.). The specialized training our staff will complete includes a state-approved 40-hour certification along with up to 40 hours of training focused on nearly 30 key topics.
By providing Peer Advocates who understand the barriers of navigating through systems, developing positive coping skills, and achieving stable life outcomes, they can effectively relate with and connect to youth. Advocates will provide one-on-one support and guidance from someone who has been where they are and has a deeper understanding of what the young person is experiencing. This
model is a marked departure from the traditional youth service model in that it uses support through lived experiences rather than clinical expertise or traditional support. The Advocate listens, helps to identify strengths and areas of need, identify supports, suggests resources, and helps formulate next steps.
TEEN SUPPORT GROUPS
Youth Rising's weekly support groups will be offered during late Fall of 2018. We asked our youth what they wanted out of a support group and we gained their insight on how to tailor it to their peers who they felt needed it the most. Our support groups are available to any youth ages 11-18. Our support groups are intended to provide a safe place for youth to talk with peers dealing with similar issues. Topics range anywhere from grief, depression, anger, or could be prompted by issues with cutting, alcohol, drugs, or abuse. In these groups, youth will walk away with tools to gain life skills that will help them to cope with stress, relationships, and other challenges.
Life, leadership, & employable skill-building opportunities
Providing opportunities to increase developmental assets can protect against the onset of substance abuse, poor mental health, violence, and even improve graduation rates. Our goal is to inspire young people who access the YR Drop-ins to set goals and gain the confidence to improve their lives (holistically).
Youth Rising has opportunities for youth to engage in leadership programs, community service and prevention projects, outings where youth can get involved in free equine therapy programs, tour college campuses across Oregon and to explore museums, lakes, trails, and other places that expose them to the world outside of their neighborhoods. We work to open their eyes to opportunities beyond their current circumstances through Mad Skills which is our career exploration program. By bringing the community (physician, fire fighter, tattoo artist, chef, diesel mechanic, Realtor, judge, etc.) to them, we cultivate a sense of hope and direction for youth to envision beyond their current circumstances.
The Drop-in also holds Social Nights and has pool tables, gaming systems, computers, board games & books (gaming and book clubs are offered), karaoke, concessions and free lunches and dinners year round.