Youth Drop-in Center at First Church
First Church is bringing hope and help to homeless youth and other youth in need of services in the downtown area through a drop-in center that we are operating in partnership with Sasha Bruce Youthwork and the Downtown Business Improvement District.
The drop-in center serves individuals 18-24. The center, which is operated at First Church from 6 until 9 p.m. on Monday nights, provides a meal, games, a movie or other entertainment and testing for HIV. Youth also are provided with hygiene packs, which include basic toiletries and supplies.
The drop-in center continues the First Church legacy of engaging directly with our community and working to address issues of homelessness. With support from the Facilities and Social Action and Awareness Commissions, Church Council and staff, First Church agreed opened the center on August 15, 2016. Youth attendance during the first three weeks ranged from 16 to 36 people, greatly exceeding initial estimates of three to five youth per week during the start-up phase.
Throughout this process, First Church members have asked that we ensure that we provide meaningful volunteer opportunities as part of the partnership. Sasha Bruce led a training and orientation session for volunteers earlier this month. First Church members and friends Tory Christensen, Monte Hillis, Taylor Sweeney, Nancy Tokola and Priscilla Waters completed the training and have jumped in already. Rev. Sid Fowler, senior minister, and Rev. James D. Ross, social action community organizer, also participated in the training.