Family Village RenovationsHome Again Permanent Housing

“Can we stop this meeting and go play?”

“Can we stop this meeting and go play?” 

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As the 6-year-old boy spoke these words, I could hardly hold back my chuckle. It was a sunny but breezy (rain imminent) Florida afternoon, so his eagerness to go explore the Yanowitz Family Playground in his new backyard came as no surprise to me. His mother, Jordana, and I were reviewing the Lee Wetherington Family Village lease while he waited, patiently as he could, on the living room couch in their new apartment.

Lee Wetherington and the Yanowitz Family are just two examples of the many donors who came forward last year with generous gifts to our #TurnTheLightsOn Campaign. Lee’s gift, among other things, helped in making these apartments fully furnished, and the Yanowitz Family Playground will likely be something Family Village residents, particularly the children, remember for a lifetime.

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It was weeks ago now that we moved Jordana and her son into their home, and as any parent knows, kids hate to go to bed at night — in fact it’s quite amazing to hear the excuses kids will come up with — drinks of water, trips to the bathroom, anything to delay the inevitable. She has since shared with me how much her son “LOVES his big boy bed, but he won’t go to sleep without his blanket and a story!”

She is filled with so much gratitude having been given this opportunity that she’s practically beaming each time I see her. She wants to thank the individual, who donated the blanket, and yet, it was just one $25 gift; much like those received during the 2015 Giving Challenge that provided this bedtime routine that her son won’t sleep without.

In total, it was 210 donors who supported our #TurnTheLightsOn Campaign during the 2015 Giving Challenge, and this year on September 20th and 21st, you, too, can #BeTheOne to impact a family like Jordana’s. The donations Harvest House receives during this year’s Giving Challenge will be supporting our new Unaccompanied Youth Transitional Living Program at the Family Village. Currently, there are no transitional living programs designed to service this unique population in Sarasota County, yet the need is evident. An estimated 1.6 million youth experience homelessness on their own each year. They live in a variety of unsafe, temporary, situations including shelters, motels, cars, and parks.

With your support, we can provide transitional living with wrap-around case management and support services for youth age 18 to 24 who have, already in their short lives, experienced devastation and hardships many of us will never know.

Florida has some of the highest high school dropout rates in the nation, and with high school dropouts TurnKeymaking up 80% of our prison population; the time to focus our attention on these youth who are at risk is now. On September 20th and 21st, you can #BeTheOne to create a lasting impact these young adults.

Help us show them there’s #NoPlaceLikeHomeAgain!

And, if you still aren’t prepared to partner and positivity propel possibilities in the Giving Challenge, The Patterson Foundation has once again offered to generously match returning donors’ gifts (1:1) and triple new donors’ gifts (2:1)!

What can I do today?

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The 2016 Giving Challenge is presented by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County with giving strengthened by The Patterson Foundation, as well as support from Manatee Community Foundation, Knight Foundation, William G. and Marie Selby Foundation, and Herald-Tribune Media Group.