"Delelo was on the floor at his home because his father wouldn’t let him use a bed, after years of berating, he was kicked out at 17. The first night he slept in the park. 'I was never so scared in all my life.' The following night he found DreamCatcher Shelter. A month later the staff had explored his dreams and hopes, prepared and practiced interviewing with him. And he was accepted into Job Corps. Delelo was so excited he packed three weeks before that day he was to go and stayed packed. Today he is in Job Corps, proud that he is creating a future for himself. He still calls, they often do.
"A youth has no place to sleep, only needs a bus pass to continue to get to school, is hungry when we respond, we save a life."
There are over 1500 youth in Oakland and up to 3000 in Alameda County on any given night that are disconnected from family and all basic support. This is a county with traffickers and exploiters driving past bus stops, schools, down the streets, watching for that youth that looks a little more lost than the others, a little more scared, a little hopeless. We must reach those youth before they do.
DreamCatcher is a powerful program that has operated for many years on the proverbial shoestring. But it is not the same world. This world is dangerous at levels never imagined, predators are walking the streets, and violence can flare in an instant with not the fighters but the lingering child becoming the victim.
We need to bring all our homeless and disconnected youth to safety; we need to provide warm beds with blankets, good food, the support of skilled and experienced staff, and the bus tickets to keep getting to school.
Needs are both great—another building and more beds and small—a bus pass, a change of clothes, a backpack or just toothpaste. And each time we fill one of those needs great or small, we win and the youth win.
Our youth have gone to college, become contributing members of society, leaders both locally and nationally, and staff in our programs.
We can make each and everyone of them safe and provide them with tools to create a future with your help.
Please volunteer, donate, even advocate.
Donations can provide toothbrushes or buildings and every number in between. No matter what the number you will have changes a child’s life. What could ever be better than that?