In support of families

Screen Shot 2018-06-22 at 8.15.04 AMThe following letter was submitted to the Columbus Dispatch earlier this week. While policy has been reversed, the message is still relevant and significant.

Dear Editor,

For the past 15 years, I have been the Executive Director of Huckleberry House.  Huckleberry House provides services including shelter and transitional living housing to homeless and runaway youth.  During my time here I have learned this about children in shelters:  no matter how great your shelter is, and Huck House is a great shelter, children want and need their families.

In every other aspect of our country’s policies and values, we affirm that families are the best way to care for children.  We do this because we know that children need the love, guidance and support of committed adults if they are to thrive as adults.  We also know that when a family can’t care for their children, the best second option is a foster family.  Yes, it is true that families aren’t always perfect, but they are the best option for raising children.

We must remain vigilant in upholding a commitment to families.

If we think there will be no lingering affects to these children, we are lying to ourselves. Even a cursory review of research and training for foster and adoption programs reveals that we know a great deal about what happens to children in both the short and long run.  We know that the grief is deep and profound, we know that separation can affect the cognitive and social development of children, and we know that childhood trauma leads to chronic health issues. If you want to read about this for yourself, you can go to the Federal Department of Health and Human Services webpage.

So, please score your political points without harming these children.  Caring for and raising children is a privilege.  We used to know that.

Sincerely,

Becky Westerfelt

Executive Director, Huckleberry House

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How does LGBTQ+ affect homeless youth?

By Leslie Scott, LSW

FINAL PRIDE Blog for 61118

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With a little help from our friends…

Each year, Huck House is invited by See Kids Dream to help teach young students about how they can make the world a better place. Guess what happens. Yep! These young students go out and make the world a better place! This year, the students at Ohio Avenue Elementary School, with help from their advisers from Crimson Cup Coffee, created this awesome video to spread awareness about Huck House.

 

Ohio Avenue Elementary School was featured on the news (click here to watch) for the help they are giving to Huck House. On an equally inspirational, and more serious, note, their school was the topic of an article in The Atlantic last month: “One Ohio School’s Quest to Rethink Bad Behavior.”

Thank you to the See Kids Dream Club at Ohio Avenue Elementary School for making the world a better place.

 

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Sip & Shop (& Shelter)

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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

J. McLaughlin

1631 Lane Avenue, Columbus, OH 43221

 

Come check out J.McLaughlin’s summer styles AND give back to Columbus’ youth while having a drink and a nosh. J.McLaughlin is donating 15% of the evening’s sales to Huck House. These funds will go towards the myriad of services Huck House offers our teens like the Crisis Shelter and the Transitional Living, Family Support and Youth Outreach Programs. Please feel free to bring friends and share this invitation. See you there!

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100 Day Challenge to End Youth Homelessness

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Last summer and fall, Huckleberry House and six other Columbus agencies participated in A Way Home America’s 100-Day Challenge. The 100-Day Challenge is a project designed to stimulate intense collaboration, innovation, and execution, all in pursuit of a wildly ambitious 100-day goal.

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Supporting a bill that would allow young people to seek housing AND education

On May 17,  in Washington, DC, the Housing and Insurance Subcommittee of the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee held a hearing about homlessness. Columbus was well represented at the hearing by Ann Bischoff, CEO of Star House. At the invitation of Congressman Steve Stivers, Huckleberry House executive director Becky Westerfelt submitted a letter of testimony to the hearing. The text of Becky’s letter follows. It focuses on one part of H.R. 1661, the “Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2017” that would positively affect Huck House youth:  student occupancy rules. Should the bill become law, youth will no longer have to choose between thriving or merely getting by. Read more

Planning For Parenthood When You’re Disabled

Ashley and her husband both have disabilities, so they knew planning for parenthood would take extra consideration. They have learned some valuable lessons and tips in their preparation for parenthood. They now have two amazing kids and maintain a website to help other disabled parents.

 

Many of the young people who come to Huck House have children of their own and Ashley’s blog below goes through some good questions to ask any soon-to-be parent.

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End of school year stress and your teen

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The end of the school year can be an overwhelming time for many high school students. Unfortunately, it can also be difficult for many young people to recognize and articulate when they are feeling stressed. Rather than saying “I feel stressed”  your child might say “I have a stomachache” or “I’m not sleeping at night.” Some teens may become irritable, impatient, angry, or even aggressive when they are feeling stressed. Others may become anxious, scared, or panicky. As a parent, paying attention to the signs and symptoms of stress can help you recognize and help your child if he or she is struggling. Read more