CHMO Alumnus Featured in Documentary

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.

 

 

 

Cooking Up Chemistry

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

 

 

Sharing Fund Celebration Spreads Holiday Cheer to CHMO

On Thursday, December 10, 2015, The Sharing Fund held its 9th Annual Snowflake Celebration. This elegant evening raises funds for local nonprofits, and Covenant House Missouri was once again honored to be one of two recipient organizations.

The gala featured a cocktail reception and entertainment, as well as an overview of the mission and work of the beneficiary organizations. Suzanne Wagener, Covenant House Missouri Executive Director, addressed the generous guests and thanked them for their support.

The mission of the Sharing Fund, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, is to benefit, through fundraising events and other activities, selected community-based not-for-profit organizations that work to build strong communities in Missouri. Covenant House Missouri is honored and grateful to The Sharing Fund for the recognition of our work and the generous donation to help youth design their own paths from homelessness to independence.

Covenant House Missouri is especially grateful to:

Snowflake Celebration Hosts
Dr. Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield

Travis H. Brown, First Rule, a Pelopidas Business
Rachel Keller, First Rule, a Pelopidas Business
Laura Slay, Slay & Associates, Inc.

Diamond Sponsor
Drury Inn

Platinum Sponsors
Slay & Associates, Inc
Andy & Janie Arnold
Dr. Arthur B. Laffer and Arthur B. Laffer, Jr.
Axiom Strategies
Capital HQ
Lee Albright – National Petition Management
Hon. Tim & Suzanne Jones and Missourians for Tim Jones
The Kelley Group, Inc.
The Cozad Company
Allied Intelligence, LLC

Gold Sponsors
The Schindler Law Firm
Advanced Nursing Services of St. Louis/Maggie & Ron Holtman
Brent Hemphill & Associates
Georgann and John Hancock
STLCRE.com
Victory Enterprises
Centerline Construction
Turning Point Public Affairs
Enterprise Holdings
Blitz, Bardgett & Deutsch, L.C.
The Wilkinson Group
Nancy Rice
Jack and Rachel Oliver
Ed Rhode
Evntiv
Dr. Jim Kelly
Carl & Debbie Bearden
Mayor Francis Slay
Rainford and Associates
Today and Tomorrow Educational Foundation
Dick & Sharon Zitzmann
Bill & Amanda Eigel
Senator Bob & Allison Onder
Representative Caleb & Lindsey Jones
Bommarito Infiniti
Missouri Restaurant Association
BDO USA, LLP
Hanaway for Governor
Rachel Keller

Silver Sponsors
Keith Kirk
Plancorp Financial Services
Representative Holly Rehder/Friends of Holly Rehder
Laura Reeves
House Majority Floor Leader Mike Cierpiot
State Representative John McCaherty
Moresource, Inc.
Tom & Pat Long and Family
Senator Joe Keaveny
Senator Jamilah Nasheed
Martin and Kate Casas
Senator Eric and Jaime Schmitt
AT&T
McCarthy, Leonard & Kaemmerer, L.C.
Jim & Brenda Talent
The Big 550 KTRS
Chris Faulbaum, KCAC Aviation
Tyler & Tracey Alcorn
David and Claire Jackson
Dr. Jeffrey D. Carter
Kappa Alpha Order – Westminster College
Senate President and Mrs. Ron Richard
Senator Will and Carmen Kraus
Senator Kurt and Stacia Schaefer
Senator Mike & Claudia Kehoe
Senator Dave and Chara Schatz
Senator & Mrs. Wayne Wallingford
Tom & Molly Dempsey
Ambassador George H. Walker
Dr. and Mrs. Erin Gardner
Kelley Sandhu
Spencer Fain, LLP
Tim & Heidi Pohlman
Modern Communications
Representative Glen Kolkmeyer
Lou and Tricia Hamilton
Wirtz Beverage Illinois
Senator Jay & Retha Wasson
Missouri Alliance for Freedom
Mark and Ellen Brandom
Weinhardt Party Rentals
State Senator Scott Sifton
Representative John & Yvette Wiemann
Representative Kurt & Jennifer Bahr
GFNTV.COM
State Representative Elijah Haahr

Bronze Sponsors
AVI Systems
Jorge Riopedre
Ruda, Cohen and Assoc.
Gallagher Consultants, Inc.
Representative Steve Cookson
Representative Eric Burlison
Representative Shamed Dogan
Representative Mike Colona
Kevin & Chris Engler
Citizens for Ed Emery
Kelly Sarka
Representative Kathy Swan
Friends of Robert Cornejo
Linda Lesh
Missouri Scout
Dr. Danny and Kristen Jackson
Doster Ullom & Boyle
Peter Franzen
Peter Hyde Design
Lucas Tomicki
Becky Green
Jerry Hobbs
Josh Stendebach
Jeff Warnhoff
Cassie Bliss
Senator Mike Cunningham
SITE Improvement Association
Prosthetic & Orthotic Care
Stephen Pollock
Rena Mayer
Rob & Heather Glessner
David Berry
Ben and Janelle Muehleisen
Hazel Mullan
Lawrence Bovay
Debbie Schneider
Christine DuVall
Jerry Schlichter
Representative Tom Flanigan
Representative Lincoln Hough
Representative Dave Hinson
Representative Donna Lichtenegger
Representative Justin Hill
Dugan Consulting Group

 

Summer of Success

J. came to CHMO in July, looking for a job. “My summer started off badly,” he says. “I wanted to find a job to stay out of trouble.” J. applied and was hired into CHMO’s Garden Rangers program, a job training program that offers education and employment.

For eight weeks, J. started his day at 6 a.m. to catch the first of three buses on his way to CHMO. After completing the seven-day employment skills workshop, J. and other Garden Rangers traveled to the Shaw and Kingsway West neighborhoods to pick up trash and clean streets.

It was hot. It was dirty. It was smelly.
And he came every day.
With a smile. With a positive attitude. With hope.

“I know I’m a different person from coming here,” he says. “For the first time in a long time my mom is smiling, and that makes me smile.”

J. participated in an extension of the Garden Rangers program. Thanks to a grant from the City of St. Louis Department of Public Safety, CHMO employed an additional 50 youth from the community.