We, The Catalysts, the third class of Next Level Trainings’ Vision Impact Program in Philadelphia, were charged with creating an impactful community service project, and we stood in support of those who create safe and transformative spaces for the community.
We were guided by our team vision of creating a world of massive action, love, vulnerability, imagination, and connection.
With our team strongly centered on the empowerment of youth and women, we chose to support Valley Youth House because of their mission to be the catalyst for youth to achieve their desired future. Valley Youth House envisions a world in which every young person belongs to a nurturing community. The organization started as a single homeless shelter in 1973, and it now has more than 250 residential sites throughout Pennsylvania. Its resources and programming serve and empower homeless youth and their families all across the state.
We set out in the month of November – National Homeless Youth Awareness Month – to raise $35,000 for Valley Youth House through the Catalyst Project.
In less than two weeks, our team of 21 members surpassed that goal by $7,000 and in total raised more than $42,000. We also cleaned, painted, and provided landscaping services to get a brand new supervised independent living center ready for five young women ages 16-20 to move into this month in Bensalem, PA. This home will serve as a safe and supportive environment for the young women as they transition out of shelters, group homes, or foster care. An open house was held on Dec. 7, 2017, with our team and Next Level Trainings presenting the check to Valley Youth House.
To surpass our goal, we focused heavily on individual giving, reaching out to our families, friends, co-workers, and local small businesses. We also held an Open Mic Night in West Chester at Finn’s Coffee where artists shared their voices through singing, rap, and spoken word. During this event, we focused on the importance of home. It is a staggering statistic that 4.2 young people experience homelessness in the course of a year – and that one in 10 young people ages 18-25 experience homelessness. We felt called to share our voices so that the voices of these youth could be heard.
Most of our donations came in during the final week of fundraising – a true testament to what can be accomplished in life when a team comes together in urgency to lead with passion and purpose.
In early December, as our team stood in the new home for the young women, and heard from Valley Youth House representatives and their commitment to ending youth homelessness, we all couldn’t help but feel that this project was the start of a long-lasting partnership.
Our project was the catalyst for Valley Youth House at a time when they needed us most. Thank you from the bottoms of our hearts to all of the Next Level Trainings Leadership, Coaches, and graduates for believing in us every step of the way.