YHELP! literally stands for youth help, and our overall mission is to ensure that youth feel safe and supported. We feel that it is important to use our talents and skills to give back to the community by spreading kindness, and encouragement.
Our plan to give back to the community is to address the critical needs of our youth. Unfortunately, there are many teens that are homeless without basic needs and support, such as shelter, food, clothing, and in some cases, family. And they need kindness and encouragement to make it from day to day. They need to know that they matter and that they are loved.
YHELP! observed that around the holiday season there are tons of great programs and organizations that support younger children and provide them with gifts, but we want to ensure that the older children and young adults also receive the same support. YHELP! reached out to organizations that support teens and young adults that are homeless, such as Sasha Bruce Youthwork, Inc and Carpenter’s Shelter to see if we can offer any assistance. Leigh Bailey, Foundation Corporate Relations Manager, Sasha Bruce Youthwork thought it would be a great idea for their PASSAGES program (18-24) youth with disabilities in a transitional housing program. Courtney Washington, Intake Coordinator, Carpenter’s Shelter thought our project would be appropriate for a young teen that she assists at the shelter.
Under our community service program, YHELP! Helps, we developed Holiday Wellness Baskets for teens and young adults to receive gifts that combine wellness products and cool clothing items. The wellness items were created by YHELP! such as journals of hope, positive pens, wellness water bottles, inspirational bracelets to encourage teens and young adults not to give up and know their worth.
Also, included in the Holiday Wellness Baskets are donated apparel items that consist of shirts and jackets from Hot Topic, music, fashion, and pop culture retail chain with the assistance of Joe Emory and Krystal Burke, Hot Topic Foundation. Old Navy, the American clothing, and accessories retail company, owned by Gap Inc. donated apparel items that consist of t-shirts, sweatshirts, scarfs, hats, water bottles, headphones, hygiene products and so much more with the assistance of support of Curtis Pinkerton and Tracy Lemmer, Old Navy.
YHELP! felt that it was important to collaborate with companies that provide on-trend and fashionable clothing because we know how challenging it can be for teens and young adults to develop confidence within their selves and amongst their peers. YHELP! also received thoughtful private donations from April Ellison, CPA, Dr, Tanikka Fevrier, and James DeLoach, CFE, CICA.
YHELP! thinks that it is important that everyone feels that they are not alone in this journey called life and that we are here for anyone that needs support. Through developing the Holiday Wellness Baskets Project we learned that we can make a small impact as an individual, but we can make an even greater impact when we work together, partner, collaborate, and combine all of our resources to spread kindness to those that are in need.