“When you don’t do the direct work, it can be really impactful to get in there and see it firsthand and do whatever you can to get as close to direct impact as possible.” These thoughts from a Raikes Foundation volunteer last week echo the importance of staying connected to the immediate work of ending youth homelessness, no matter what your day job is.  

Last week, staff from the Raikes Foundation did just that as they gathered to volunteer at Catalyst, a YouthCare Transitional Living Program that provides young people with transitional housing and support as they build a path forward to long-term housing and stability. The volunteers’ energetic help was a wonderful reminder of the power of community in supporting young people experiencing homelessness and a rallying cry for the urgency of volunteer work.  

Rolling up their sleeves, volunteers got to work on weeding, yard cleanup, and a thorough deep clean of the house and all its corners. A powerhouse of philanthropy, the Raikes Foundation’s own belief that “every young person deserves a safe and stable place to call home” is closely aligned with YouthCare’s mission to end youth homelessness and ensure young people in crisis are seen and valued.   

Last Thursday, while getting ready to dive into cleaning work at Catalyst, Paula Carvalho, Housing Stability for Youth Program Officer for the Raikes Foundation, commented, “We’re really trying to hone in on our belief that we can prevent and end youth and young adult homelessness. We recognize that young people are experiencing homelessness for multiple reasons, none of which we believe are their fault. And so, supporting an organization like YouthCare that believes in utilizing their resources and supporting young people who are experiencing crisis is important, but also, it’s a look more upstream towards preventing the trauma of housing instability. We’re super happy to be here to support that mission, to support our young people, and to support our communities.”  

Another Raikes Foundation volunteer thoughtfully reflected while elbows deep in oven-cleaning, “We spend a lot of time at our desks and in our heads, and it’s really valuable to get out into the world and to do work that reminds us we can think about other things. It’s important that every young person has somewhere beautiful and nice to be.”   

This thought was cheerfully and succinctly punctuated by Fatima Gulamali, Chief of Staff for the Raikes Foundation, as she sorted through pantry items, “Get out of your head and into your heart!”  

Away from your desk and into the world, out of your head and into your heart, the Raikes Foundation staff are putting their energy where their values are, and we at YouthCare are incredibly grateful for the way they show up not just in the generosity of their financial support, but also in the generosity of their time and presence.  

Volunteer work makes a world of difference for the clients YouthCare serves, showing them their community truly does show up for them, and it makes an immense difference to the direct staff who carry the work of immediate support every day. You too can join in the work and show you care by coming out to volunteer at a YouthCare site. Check out our volunteer opportunities here!