Education and Employment
Education and employment are significant barriers for youth trying to exit the street. Safe Place for Youth’s (SPY) Education and Employment program provides resume building, mock interviewing, life skills workshops, job and education application guidance, and networking opportunities through a trauma-informed, three-tiered approach.
Participation in the first stage, pre-employment exploration, gives youth an opportunity to engage in projects that interest them. This includes participation in the Digital Arts Lab and the Farm School gardening program. Once a young person is ready and motivated, they can transition into the job readiness stage, working directly with our Education and Employment team to build a resume, engage in mock interviews and network at career fairs. This leads to the third stage, supportive employment. After a young person successfully obtains a job or acceptance into a school, our staff continues to support each individual throughout their education or employment journey.
This program is an important step in the process of a homeless youth making their way towards a stable life away from the streets. We aim to continue to expand the services we offer so that we can make the greatest impact possible on each young person that comes through the door.
Five Keys Charter School
SPY is proud to have Five Keys Charter School on-site, providing SPY members with the important opportunity to work towards their HiSET or high school diploma. Five Keys works with each student individually, allowing them to move negative experiences they may have had in the past. In December 2017, we celebrated our first three graduates!
Digital Arts Lab
As part of the Education and Employment Program’s pre-employment exploration stage, the Digital Arts Lab exposes youth to technology that utilizes their innate talents while building self-esteem and motivation. Currently, Graphic Design and Music Production workshops are taught once a week. In Graphic Design, SPY members learn design basics while creating their own business cards, album covers, and t-shirts. In Music Production, SPY members record and edit their own, original musical creations individually and in collaboration. One of SPY’s newer programs, the Digital Arts Lab will soon offer youth the opportunity to explore interests in photography, laser-cutting, and virtual reality.
Food for the Soul
The Food for the Soul program is designed to show youth experiencing homelessness the principles of building community and food security while cultivating, distributing, and preparing fresh fruits and vegetables from a self-reliant garden. Food for the Soul works to promote the overall mental and physical health and well-being of a young person and provide meaningful work opportunities that encourage self-esteem, responsibilities, and self-sufficiency. In partnership with local garden businesses like Home Grown Gardens and Community Healing Gardens, youth are engaged in weekly workshops at SPY’s Community Garden (thanks to our friends at Kiss the Ground) and Drop-In Center garden to learn about growing and maintaining the fruits and vegetables.
Spy Internship Program
Safe Place for Youth (SPY) is very excited to offer four Youth Internships as part of our supportive employment program! Internships provide the opportunity for valuable professional development in the context of a real employment experience.
SPY Youth Interns join the SPY team for six months as part of the Drop-In team, working with SPY Staff and Volunteers to make sure the Clothing Closet, Shower, Meals, and Garden programs are running smoothly. During their internship, Youth Interns are supported to practice their skills in time management and workplace communication, as well as become familiar with workplace norms like performance evaluations. They learn to utilize the same human resources platform as SPY Staff and attend trainings and meetings, as appropriate.
Youth Interns also participate in paid professional development activities, which include Education & Employment workshops, college campus visits, and job fairs. Finally, during the last week of their internship, SPY Interns update their resume, participate in a mock interview, and get on-the-ground experience training the incoming round of Youth Interns!