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

Open Intake

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

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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.

Give STL Day is May 3rd!

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Covenant House Missouri is once again participating in Give STL Day, an online day of giving sponsored by the St. Louis Community Foundation.

As a friend of Covenant House Missouri, we want your help in advocating for CHMO on this important day.

Helping CHMO is as easy as 1-2-3!

Step 1 – What is 1 fact or story that you love about CHMO? Share it on your social media sites for 1 week.

Step 2 – Choose 2 VIPs – friends, family, colleagues or professional connections – and make 2 requests: that they like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Step 3 – On May 3, make a gift to CHMO through Give STL Day! You can choose any amount – $33, $333, or even $333,333! Post on social media that you gave, and then challenge 3 friends to do the same! Tell them to challenge 3 of their friends!

Facts and Stories to Share for 1 Week

  • Covenant House Missouri utilizes holistic, individualized programs to empower youth who are homeless.
  • Covenant House Missouri is implementing a Trauma-Informed Care model.
  • 99 cents of every dollar donated goes to programming for youth who are homeless or disconnected.
  • In fiscal year 20
  • In fiscal year 2015, 86 percent of youth received life-changing therapeutic services.
  • In fiscal year 2015, 68 percent of youth who attended employment skills training obtained jobs.
  • In fiscal year 2015, 79 percent of youth in our crisis program were discharged to safe and stable housing.
  • In fiscal year 2015, CHMO outreach case managers drove 461 miles to support youth living in the metropolitan St. Louis region.

 

FY 2015 Annual Report Now Available!

Covenant House Missouri is proud to share with you our fiscal year 2015 Annual Report.

We are grateful to the donors, volunteers and friends of CHMO who empowered nearly 4,000 youth who were homeless or disconnected to design their own paths to independence.

You are a crucial piece to providing holistic, individualized services to young people building lives off the streets.

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Learn More About CHMO Events

Covenant House Missouri hosts two events annually.

On November 19, 2016, leaders in the metropolitan St. Louis community are invited to raise awareness and funds for the youth who are designing their own paths to independence at Covenant House Missouri.

On April 29, 2017, friends and supporters of Covenant House Missouri are invited to attend the 9th annual Stan Musial Hall of Fame Gala. This elegant evening features a dinner, silent and live auctions, and presentations of the Stan Musial Hall of Fame Award and the Lillian Musial Beacon of Hope Award.

To learn more or add your name or email to a reminder list, please contact Kristine Mannecke, Director of Advancement.

CHMO Alumnus Featured in Documentary

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In 2015, Covenant House Missouri was awarded a Crime Prevention grant through the City of St. Louis. The grant’s purpose was to keep youth off the streets during the summer months. CHMO used the grant to fund additional positions in the Garden Rangers program, so youth could earn a paycheck and build their resumes.

That is when we first met Leon, a tall, timid young man looking to build new opportunities for himself. He had just finished high school and wanted to pursue his dream of attending college.

While receiving services and working at CHMO, Leon was chosen to be featured in Works in Progress, a documentary from American Graduate and Nine Public Media. The powerful piece tells the story of five young people from the St. Louis area and puts a spotlight on the barriers that keep them from receiving an education.

Tune in to 9 PBS on Monday, February 8, at 7 p.m. to hear Leon’s story of resiliency. We are grateful to American Graduate and Nine Network of Public Media for sharing his story.

 

 

 

8th Annual Stan Musial Hall of Fame Gala a Success!

On January 23, 2016, nearly 300 guests gathered at the Four Seasons St. Louis to show their support for Covenant House Missouri during the 8th Annual Stan Musial Hall of Fame Gala.

The elegant evening raised more than $227,000 net for the organization’s important mission. Through holistic, individualized programs including mental health, education and career development, residential and community outreach services, Covenant House Missouri is empowering youth 16-21 years old to design their own paths to independence.

Co-chairs Cheryl & Jon Nienas welcomed the attendees and introduced Sue Wagener, Executive Director of CHMO. Sue shared the great progress Covenant House Missouri is making and also highlighted its three-year strategic plan for elevating the important work of CHMO.

Janet Musial Schwarze, Martin Schwarze and Jeff Musial presented the Stan Musial Hall of Fame Award to two Covenant House Missouri alumni, Saudi Crudup and Cindy Dixon. Crudup is now a naval reservist and foster father to his two younger sisters. Dixon recently graduated from University Missouri – St. Louis with a Bachelor of Science degree and is working at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

Master of Ceremonies and auctioneer Dave Schumacher led the live auction, which featured a VIP kart experience at Gateway Motor Speedway, a drive in a Tesla Model S, and a personalized boxing glove from Evander Holyfield, who as a guest at the Gala.

Following a moving video featuring CHMO graduate Caleb, Schumacher then led the Fund-A-Youth portion of the live auction. Guests raised their paddles to donate to important programs and services designed to empower youth.

Wagener then returned to the stage to honor Dan Woods with the Lillian Musial Beacon of Hope Award. Woods has served as a board member for nine years, offering his wisdom and insight through various committees and strategic initiatives.

Following the conclusion of the gala program, guests enjoyed the music of Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes.

Photos from the event are available online. We are grateful to Town & Style St. Louis and Ladue News for also capturing moments from the evening.

Covenant House Missouri thanks its Gala sponsors:

Visionary
Jeanne & Rex Sinquefield
Koman

Champion
The Compardo Team at Moneta Group
Edward Jones

Guardian
Ascension
Kate Ewing
Amy & Curtis Francois
Doreen & Tom Gilliam, Sr.
Shevon Harris, Esq. – The Harris Law Firm
Marty & Andrew Hereford
Donna & Paul Kindl
Lori & Jim Klimt – Duke Manufacturing, Inc.
Kopytek/Commercial Bank of Westport
Cheryl & Jon Nienas
Northwestern Mutual-St. Louis – Gerard M. Hempstead, Managing Partner
Laura & Brad Partridge
Judy & Dave Smith
SSE
Stifel
Julie & Dan Woods

Advocate
Rodney Gee

 

 

Cooking Up Chemistry

Pam Teaching a C&N Class

The following blog post was written by Pam Keck, a loyal and compassionate volunteer at Covenant House Missouri. Pam, a retired science professional, shares her time with youth and staff in a variety of capacities, including leading a Chemistry and Nutrition class for youth in CHMO’s residential program and creating a plan for a Healing Garden.

This past spring while visiting with a practicum student from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, I learned that she and Brad Suda,then an undergraduate volunteer from Washington University in St. Louis, were planning a nutrition class for the youth. They invited me to participate and I jumped at the chance. The first ‘course’ so to speak was a true experiment; we weren’t sure how the youth would respond. During the three meeting times, we covered basic nutrition facts, targeted body weights, reading a nutrition label and taste tests. The class was a hit. The month of May arrived and Brie left for her full-time job and Brad for summer vacation.

In the meantime, I learned that CHMO had four dormant 8 x 8 foot above-ground-planter boxes built by a former volunteer. I was encouraged to start up the garden plots again. Several youth helped prepare the soil and plant tomatoes, peppers, sweet potatoes, parsley, basil, squash and flowers. Other youth helped with the watering. I was amazed at the curiosity extended by the youth who ‘caught’ me working the beds. Once they started asking questions, their friends would join in on the discussion. The excitement over knowing what a sweet potato plant looked like versus parsley was amazing to me.

I decided to continue the nutrition class using the fruits of our labor from the beds and called it “C&N” for chemistry and nutrition. (Since I’m a chemist, I always look for a chance to point out that everything around us is a chemical including the food we eat. One of the main messages discussed what that it’s up to us to make good choices regarding anything we put into our bodies.) In the next class, I wanted to show youth how to cook healthy dishes and so we had several sessions on the TLP floor where one young woman graciously offered her kitchen and apartment as the tasting room. We prepared bruschetta using tomatoes and basil from the garden (most hadn’t heard of this), tomato sauce and used tofu and spaghetti squash as noodle substitutes, as well as butternut squash soup and sweet potato pie and chips. In fact, the CHMO garden sweet potatoes won an award from Gateway Greening as the ‘brainiest looking’ sweet potato.

The whole outdoor experience led me to consider the nearly half-acre plot that housed the garden beds. Wouldn’t it be cool to have the whole area filled with gardens and places for sanctuary including swings, chairs and a gazebo? Therapeutic healing gardens are a proven tool for improving mental health. I contacted the St. Louis Master Gardeners who identified Anne Moore from Florascapes to help. Anne designed a beautiful plan for CHMO that has all of these items and more. We are currently seeking funds for this space and if blessed with the appropriate funding hope to integrate the entire plan this coming spring.

Chemistry and Nutrition Class