$250,000 Grant from The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation Will Support Youth Experiencing Homelessness.
Homeless Youth Connection (HYC) has received a $250,000 grant from The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation to help ensure youth, ages 13 to 21, experiencing homelessness receive the basic resources they need to stay in school and complete their education. The AZ Department of Education reported that at any given time, more than 8,000 homeless youth (grades nine through 12) are living in Maricopa County and more than 2,300 are considered unaccompanied youth. These students face numerous barriers to education, keeping many of them from completing high school or achieving post-secondary education.
“Many of us have never had to wonder where our next meal may come from or where we’ll sleep at night, but these are very real concerns for youth facing homelessness,” said President and Executive Creative Director of PXG Apparel Renee Parsons. “By providing for these basic needs, HYC is able to remove some of the burdens on these students so they can refocus on their education and their future.”
HYC’s Empowering Youth For The Future (EYFTF) program is a comprehensive social services program that provides youth experiencing homelessness with housing, basic needs, case management, and support with their education. Through the EYFTF program, HYC helps youth implement plans that will stabilize them, move them forward, promote individual accomplishment, and avoid homelessness in the future. The grant from The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation will directly support this program and HYC’s mission to eliminate barriers to graduation for youth experiencing homelessness and create lasting solutions for a successful future through community support and increased awareness.
“We are so grateful to The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation for providing HYC with the resources to offer authentic youth engagement and positive youth development, so that youth experiencing homelessness will succeed and reach their greatest potential,” said HYC Chief Executive Officer Dawn Bogart.
HYC uses an innovative approach to helping youth experiencing homelessness stay in school and complete their education by meeting youth “where they are.” The EYFTF program engages high-school-aged youth experiencing homelessness in trauma-informed, client-led, strengths-based interventions. Youth Coaches work together with youth to identify needs related to academics, health, housing, hygiene, employment, and independent living skills. Youth then identify their strengths and goals, and partner with their Youth Coach to establish an actionable plan. In a collaborative partnership, Youth Coaches engage with their youth, and stand on the sidelines offering compassionate encouragement while each youth chases their dream.
“More than just meeting current needs, HYC is stepping in at a critical time in these students’ lives and helping break the cycle of homelessness,” said PXG Founder and CEO Bob Parsons. “Sometimes, a little help can make all the difference.”
In addition to basic necessities, HYC provides youth with life skills training and mentoring. Classes include college prep, employment and career development, cultural diversity, fiscal literacy, and independent living skills. Currently, HYC serves more than 115 high schools across 12 school districts in Maricopa County. For additional information or to join the mission, please visit Homeless Youth Connection at www.hycaz.org.