2015 Proposal: Parachutes

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Name of Nonprofit Organization: Parachutes Teen Club & Resource Center

Your Name:  Heather Harris

Short Project Description:

Since 2003 Parachutes has been serving high-risk and street-involved youth by providing a safe social space to hang out, caring adults who provide informal mentorship, referrals to needed services and an invitation to the weekly dinner and discussion meeting “The Table.”

The Big Why:

Often lost in the conversation about homeless youth is the topic of prevention.  Service to homeless youth is important, Parachutes is a program focused on prevention.  The youth that are the most at risk for homelessness, substance abuse and gang involvement are the youth with the least relational support.  The primary service that Parachutes provides is community.  Parachutes defines high-risk youth in terms of relational support and is a place where youth can find friendship with peers, as well as supportive adults and begin to build a web of supportive relationship that are lacking in other areas of their life.

Here is what some of the youth have told us:

“Parachutes is a family of which you choose…I would never trade this family for anything.”

“I never could have imagined how much this place would change my life– helping me meet new people, gain experiences, and have an environment I never would’ve otherwise.”

“Parachutes helped me through the toughest of times since I was 13 years old.”

“I owe my life to Parachutes…It gave me somewhere to be, when I had nothing to do… It was like church to me, or a second home.”

“Parachutes saves lives from falling.”

Since 2003, Parachutes has been serving high-risk and street-involved youth by providing a safe social space to hang out, caring adults who provide informal mentorship, referrals to needed services and an invitation to the weekly dinner and discussion meeting “The Table.”  After serving youth in those ways through a drop-in center in the Dimond Center Mall for 11 years, Parachutes is in the process of moving to a new location and renovating a new space to continue it’s drop-in services.  The location is changing, but the commitment to the youth of Anchorage remains strong.

The Bottom Line:

Parachutes is seeking donations to offset the cost of renovating their new drop-in space.  Parachutes is asking the Women’s Giving Circle to consider a contribution of $3000 to help transform their new location, for youth without much relational support, into a facility to foster community.

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