Philanthropists Host Safe Children Coalition Youth Shelter Campaign Event

The Giving Coast

Child welfare organization Safe Children Coalition (SCC) recently held a “Cocktails and Conversation” event, in support of its ongoing Youth Shelter capital campaign. The event, attended by approximately 70 people, brought together current and prospective donors to learn more about SCC and the critical need for the new Youth Shelter for at-risk youths in our community, and to announce a $500,000 challenge match. The hosts for the event were Veronica Brady and Keith Monda, and Pete and Joan Powers. Each couple offered their “whys” for supporting the new Youth Shelter; all are dedicated advocates for youth. SCC’s board chair, Brian Goodrich, introduced longtime child welfare advocate and SCC president and CEO Brena Slater, who discussed the work of the organization and the critical importance of a new and improved Youth Shelter in protecting and providing resources in support of a better future for homeless youths ages 10-17. The highlight of the program was an announcement of a $500,000 challenge match from Bob and Joan Geyer, in partnership with Gulf Coast Community Foundation. The Youth Shelter is the only facility designated for homeless teens for Sarasota and Desoto counties and serves youth from Manatee County too. Many of the teens served enter the shelter because of a mental health crisis (four out of five youths in the shelter arrive there after being released from a Baker Act stay at a local hospital facility) and/or a parent’s inability to cope with a youth who is out of control. For the past four years, the SCC Youth Shelter has been first or second in facility utilization out of the 16 shelters in the Florida Network and exceeded contracted bed days. Currently, the shelter is at a smaller, temporary location until the new facility can be built, which has limited the number of teens that can be helped. There are more than 2,000 teens who are homeless in the 12th Judicial Circuit (Sarasota, Manatee and DeSoto counties); the new Youth Shelter is expected to alleviate a waiting list of teens in need of shelter services. The Youth Shelter campaign has raised well over half of what the SCC expects the facility to cost; additional community support is crucial to getting the effort over the goal line. For more about Safe Children Coalition, or to inquire about the challenge match to build the new Youth Shelter, contact Jacqueline House at jhouse@sccfl.org or call 941-371-4799, ext. 1127.

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