Being a teenager can be hard for anyone, but being a teen without a home makes everything much tougher.
This one of the reasons why Grace Place of Somerset wants to start a Teen Program to help provide enrichment opportunities for the teens whose family is without a place to live.
"This summer it hit us how important it is to work with the teens," Duana Bremer said. "Some teens want to work and they don't have the money for their uniform. We want to help kids do that and more."
Grace Place, a half-way house operated by the Salvation Army, provides for the absolute needs of individuals and families including food, education, activities, counseling, and assistance in finding jobs and permanent housing. The family-friendly facility in Somerset is typically home to anywhere from five and fifteen homeless teens a year.
"We have sent out news letters to 2,000 businesses and families," Bremer said. "We hope to invite people to send funds to help support this program."
With many schools cutting behind-the-wheel training due to cost concerns, Grace Place hopes to use the money raised by its "Teen Program" to assist teens in getting their license, and other activities, in order for them to feel more like a regular teenager.
Grace Place also hopes to see the teens widen their adult relationships with the help of adult mentors.
"If anyone has an interest in mentoring a teen staying here we would encourage them to do so," Bremer said. "We hope that a mentor will continue to follow their teen after they leave Grace Place."
The screening of volunteers is done very carefully before anyone is allowed to work at Grace Place Bremer said.
"Our funds are sadly depleted right now," Bremer said. "Calls for assistance have multiplied three fold. A lot of people are hurting and are barely able to get by."
From March until the end of July, Grace Place has been home to three teenagers and their families.
"The population at Grace Place fluctuates all the time," Bremer said. "A family could be here two to three weeks or three to four months, you never know. We feel it is a safe place for families to get back on their feet."
To assist with this program by donating funds or by volunteering to mentor a teen, call Grace Place at (715) 247-2944. Money to support the teens staying at Grace Place can be contributed by putting "Teen Program" in the memo section of a check.