A safe place: reaching out to homeless youth in Upland

The homeless crisis in Southern California has reached an all-time high and with each news cycle, addressing the social welfare issues facing the homeless population continues to be front and center. Youth are not immune to this plight and are one of our most vulnerable homeless populations. Reach Out, whose mission is to address barriers to healthy communities, recently received funding to open an after-school homeless youth drop-in center right here in Upland.  Last week, the new center held an open house as part of its soft launch opening. Community members, clergy, teachers, parents, sheriff's deputies, and local non-profit organizers came to tour the facility and learn more about what the center will be offering. Flyers and other materials were also provided to help get the word out about this new service.  

 A rec room provides comfortable lounging and an art therapy center. 

A rec room provides comfortable lounging and an art therapy center. 

Our ultimate goal is to engage these youth and act as a bridge that connects them with resources like transportation, food, and clothing while helping them with the skills they need to be more employable. We hope that through the center, they’ll come to see us as people who genuinely care about their future.
— Evelyn Hendrick, Outreach Specialist, Reach Out

The center is meant to provide a safe, positive place for kids aged 12 - 18 to come after school and, beginning in June, will be open 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM, Monday - Friday. Outreach Specialists, Anna Roach and Evelyn Hendriks, will run the center and provide activities, resources, and supervision.

The center, conveniently located off Foothill Blvd and walking distance from Upland High, has a study room, a computer room, a game room, and a lounge with art desks and a gaming station. A small kitchenette and several mini-fridges will enable staff to offer food and snacks to hungry youth. A generous donation of clothing from AMR - Rancho Cucamonga will enable the center to start an inhouse boutique of sorts to get youth the some much needed clothing. Many partners have come forward to get the center ready, including Macy's department store, who generously decorated the center,  Molina Healthcare and Kaiser Permanente who donated all the furniture, and the Reach Out board members who donated the large screen tv.

For more information about the drop in center, call 909-931-1643 or email Anna Roach (anna.roach@we-reachout.org) or Evelyn Hedriks (evelyn@we-reachout.org).