Month: May 2016

Open Intake Means Our Doors are Open to All Youth. Again. And Again. And Again.

Covenant House Missouri is an open intake agency, which means we accept all youth at whatever place they are in toward their journeys to independence. Our principles – immediacy, sanctuary, communicating values, structure and choice – are meant to guide youth through their personal traumas and toward becoming healthy, independent adults.

The path to independence is not without its bumps. We teach youth that they are the best experts of their own lives, and they must decide when they are ready to make positive changes. Sometimes this doesn’t happen upon the first stay. For some youth, leaving and returning to CHMO is a part of their growth. Covenant House becomes a safe and trusting place where they eventually feel empowered to stay.

In the post below, Troy Miles, a dedicated staff member who served youth for years as a case manager, explains what brings back youth to Covenant House Missouri.

Opportunities from the streets are offered daily for youth who are homeless.  Opportunities for employment, housing, education, among many others. The concern is that consistently these are inappropriate opportunities from those who traffic (sex and labor), those who charge a cost that is unthinkable (survival sex), and those who disguise manipulation as teaching to take away a youth’s willingness to trust.

When youth comes to Covenant House Missouri, they may have little to carry physically, but mentally and emotionally they are weighed down. Often times when they walk through our doors, it is hard to comprehend what a safe and caring opportunity looks like. So they leave and come back, and leave and come back, and leave and come back. They return because they start to understand that  that trust, respect and love don’t have to cost anything. The staff focus on their growth, not their mistakes. Youth return because in their own words “I figured out that this was the best place for me. It took me a while, but I get it now.”   This is what makes CHMO a place that makes youth who are homeless feel empowered to take steps toward independence.

Express Scripts Donates Toiletries to Youth on the Streets

Covenant House Missouri is grateful to the compassionate employees at Express Scripts for donating about five pounds of travel-sized toiletry items to our Outreach program. Employees were encouraged to donate their unused toiletries, or if they weren’t frequent travelers, to purchase travel-sized items and add them to the collection.

Items including shampoos, soaps, lotions, toothpastes and toothbrushes were generously shared, and on April 29, 2016, Covenant House Missouri staff were invited to Express Scripts corporate headquarters to receive the items. Outreach case managers Freida Morris and Megan Gray met with Tim Wentworth, Express Scripts President, and thanks the Express Script staff for their generosity.

The toiletries are being distributed as part of Covenant House Missouri’s street outreach program. Our Outreach case managers drive around St. Louis and distribute much-needed care items to young people living on the streets.

Covenant House Missouri first partnered with Express Scripts in 2015, when Tim Wentworth and his wife Robin co-chaired the 2015 Sleep Out: Executive Edition. The unique event encourages executives throughout St. Louis to join together with leaders across the United States to raise funds and awareness for youth who are homeless. Robin, Tim, and 20 other St. Louis leaders spent one night outside on the Covenant House Missouri parking lot to bring awareness to the nearly 3,000 youth in Missouri who sleep on the streets each night. Under the Wentworths’ selflessness and leadership, the participants raised nearly $283,000 to empower youth who are homeless or disconnected to design their own paths to independence.