For the past 43 years, Sasha Bruce has helped homeless youth find safe shelter, strengthened family ties and prepared youth for post-secondary education and careers. These services are available to the 1,500 youth and 5,000 family members who reside in Sasha Bruce’s transitional living facility or receive services via their Homeless Youth Drop-In Center each year.
Our Sharing DC Advisory Committee members and The Community Foundation donors and staff visited the Teen Drop-In Center to learn more about the work of Sasha Bruce, including its 18-year-old workforce development program. The program includes mentoring services that are geared toward the development of post-secondary plans for homeless youth and helping them access skills training certifications which can lead to immediate career tracks.
On the day of our visit, the drop-in center, which opens from 8:00 am-6:00 pm daily, was in full swing. The lounge, kitchen, and computer lab were all filled with teens. Some were studying for their GED exam or fixing lunch and others were applying for jobs or just taking a break from the chaos of life on the streets.
Executive Director, Deborah Shore, graciously escorted our group through the facility while sharing how the organization has evolved and expanded over the years. We paused periodically to meet with key staff and chat with clients. Most of the teens who participate in Sasha Bruce’s programs are grappling with very difficult circumstances. Despite their challenges, case managers shared numerous success stories of students obtaining jobs in construction or retail, entering transitional housing, or attending college.
With so much of their lives in flux, achieving any of these milestones is a major victory. Sasha Bruce often serves as a stabilizing force for youth. It provides ongoing support and a mentoring relationship that often extends for years. Its presence helps to ensure the successful transition to adulthood for DC area youth.
Sharing DC, a donor led grantmaking initiative of The Community Foundation, focused on youth access to and success in post-secondary education this year. By 2018, 71% of all jobs in DC will require a post-secondary degree or certificate. However, only 72% of DC Public and Charter School students will graduate high school, and of those, just 19% will earn post-secondary degrees.
To learn more about Sharing DC or join us for future visits, please contact Gisela Shanfeld at firstname.lastname@example.org