For 40 years quality care for homeless and runaway youth has been a centerpiece of the agency’s mission. At Synergy we envision a world without family violence, homelessness, abuse and neglect as we extend a lifeline to families and individuals in crisis.
"Many years ago I was in a very bad place in my life, parents had kicked me out, I was in an unfamiliar state, in what I can only describe as the coldest winter I have ever felt in my life. A campus police officer, I cannot for the life of me remember the name of the school, but it was a private college there, instead of arresting me for vagrancy and going through their trash to find something to eat, brought me to one of your houses. It was the first time in months I remember being warm. One of your staff had a husband that worked at TWA airlines and got me a ticket to a friend I could stay with in Florida, fed me, and made sure I was safe and warm for the time I was there. I cannot imagine I would have survived through the winter there much less another 12 years of life without your guys help. I am now a college graduate, with my bachelors in Computer science, and wanted to take the time to thank you for everything your organization does." -- Male
"I just wanted to say Synergy is the best! Its just lovely to have a fun and pleasant atmosphere to be in the staff are wonderful people and the place itself is just so awesome. I would defiantly recommend going there, they have something for everyone. Go on! Go to synergy, its awesome!" -- Female
"You guys made me think what life is all about, and how to let go of pain and let the past just why by and move on with life. For that I thank you and the staff" --Male
We opened the Synergy Services Homeless Youth Campus in early 2010, and in our first year provided emergency shelter for 538 youth with 6205 nights of care, almost double the number served in our former location. In addition to expanding our capacity for shelter, the Youth Resiliency Center provided the community’s most vulnerable young people with an ongoing opportunity to connect to a caring and supportive community as well as the ability to develop resiliency, a dynamic process wherein individuals display positive adaptation despite experiences of significant adversity or trauma.
The onsite Youth Clinic, a program of the Youth Resiliency Center, provided free health care for 917 youth in 2010 even though the medical services (staffed by Children’s Mercy Hospital) and the dental services (staffed by Miles of Smiles) did not open until the second half of the year. The clinic’s mental health counseling and case management services (staffed by Synergy’s Clinical Division) worked in association with the medical and dental providers to introduce an integrated service model. In addition, at the Youth Resiliency Center young people aged 12 to 21 were able to connect and build resiliency through creative art instruction at the Blitt Family Creative Arts Center; and improve and enhance their educational success through classroom instruction, field trips, exposure to the community’s cultural and artistic resources, school credit recovery, tutoring, and financial literacy education. They were able to use the YRC’s computer lab to develop a resume and apply for employment as well as for school work and social networking. Youth also participated in a life skills curriculum that better prepared them to be healthy productive adults. Young people had fun and experienced physical development through the YRC’s Fitness Center. They learned culinary skills and healthy nutrition through the Teaching Kitchen and the campus garden, and they had the joy of learning how to play musical instruments as well as recording their music through the onsite recording studio. Every day in 2010, a growing number of our community’s most vulnerable young people experienced warmth, safety, and new hope through the YRC’s Drop-in Center where they could shower or even take a bubble bath, find good wholesome food, do their laundry, store their stuff, and connect with caring adults.
Recently a young man residing at Synergy House, our teen shelter, was taking Congressman Emanuel Cleaver on a tour. He was showing him around and pointing out all the services, when suddenly he stopped, turned to him, and said "I just want you to know that two weeks ago I was living behind a dumpster and now I'm taking a Congressman on a tour of this awesome place that was built to help me change my life...I will never be the same person again."
It is exactly this type of resilience that the youth campus was built to accomplish. Having opened just a year ago with a new shelter and a comprehensive resource center next door, the campus has been transformational--both in the way Synergy is able to offer services and in the impact on the young people we served.
Read more in our Spring 2011 Newsletter.
February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month
Though it is not often discussed, it is clear that students at every middle school, high school and college campus are impacted by teen dating violence. Studies indicate that as many as one in three teens that date experience some type of abuse in their dating relationships. This takes on even greater significance with the realization that the beliefs, behaviors and attitudes teens form today set the stage for the relationships that they have in adulthood.
As today’s teens navigate highly complex social situations, and feel pressures from all directions to live up to expectations and conform to social norms, we know that building awareness of this problem and providing tools for good decision-making are more important than ever. That's why we offer our STOP Violence programs in community settings throughout the metro with adolescent workshops focused on teen dating violence. Your support makes it possible for us to offer these programs, along with supportive services at Synergy's Youth Resiliency Center that help break the cycle of violence and keep young people safe.
Tristan's story demonstrates the impact Synergy Services Youth Resiliency Center is making in the Kansas City Community. Thank you for supporting our efforts to make a difference to the homeless in our area. Please see the link below.
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