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[August 30, 2010]
Program that helps homeless youth expands
HIGH POINT, Aug 30, 2010 (High Point Enterprise - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- A High Point nonprofit that serves homeless youth is expanding its outreach to a neighboring city with another initiative aimed at serving those on the margins of society.
I Am Now is scheduled to hold a grand opening for its Crossroads II house in Greensboro today. The facility is a transition house for former foster children who have no place to live because they've aged out of foster care and have no family. It will serve women using the same model the organization has employed at its Crossroads house on Ferndale Boulevard since it was established a few years ago.
The High Point site houses several 18- to 23-year-old men as part of a program that seeks to help them become self-sufficient.
"I always wanted to have a house for young women, but we never were in position to do it even though the need was always there," said Travis Burrell, founder of I Am Now. "Recently, I received a high number of calls from young women who were homeless between the ages of 18 and 23, and they had nowhere to go. We stepped out on faith and decided to open up Crossroads II to serve these young women." Crossroads II has three women living there with room to accommodate five, Burrell said. He and other I Am Now staff are working to help them fill their housing needs, finish their education and find jobs.
"Everybody in the house has either gotten enrolled in school, found a part-time job or is volunteering in some fashion," Burrell said. "We've already got the ball rolling with the folks there." I Am Now gets funding from Guilford County and through private donations. In addition to transitional housing, the program offers mentoring for teenagers and has recently begun a social entrepreneurship program that offers jobs for youth.
Burrell said the Crossroads house in High Point has five people. A case manager works with clients, and the program has established a solid track record, Burrell said, adding that he hopes more potential donors will take note of the group's success.
"We have a proven program that is changing these young people's lives. They're going off to college. They're going to trade school. They're getting a high school diploma. They're living independently. We have a model that works," he said. "Basically, we're going to continue to do what we do, but we're going to have to have the community support us." The grand opening observance for Crossroads II, located at 3703 Brady St., Greensboro, is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today.
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