Haven Adolescent Community Respite Center Introduction
Haven is (we think) the 1st adolescent community respite center – a voluntary alternative to jail, the street, the hospital. Make it work!
We, a team of parents, social workers, public safety professionals, educators, and public defenders are working to design and create the first adolescent respite center here in Jersey City. In this first stage, we will conduct a broad ranging outreach effort to churches, temples, mosques, non-profit service and civic organizations and to a range of city and state youth and public safety organizations. This will create a solid foundation and a broad community network for the young people served by Haven. We will conduct hundreds of meetings throughout Jersey City and the adjoining communities to introduce the idea of a community respite center for youth and to identify potential community advisory board members and service partners. The community advisory board will provide guidance in addressing the needs of a diverse group of teenagers, refer families in need of services and help us to identify long term resources which will diminish the number of future crises for adolescents and their families.
This fundraising campaign is a modest one designed to fund our outreach step. We plan to open Haven in 2017. We have a lot of work to do to establish our place in Jersey City and build a strong community core before then. This campaign will help us complete the outreach phase of this project by funding research, planning, establishment of non-profit status, and creation of promotional materials and web presence required to communicate with the many parties with whom we will need to cooperate once Haven is operational.
why we’re doing it
As parents, EMTs, service and legal service providers, we have seen far too many young people arrested, hospitalized or rendered homeless as the result of family conflict. The young people we intend to serve do not have major psychiatric diagnoses and aren’t helped by time spent in jail. There are far too few homeless shelter beds for young people – last year Covenant House in Manhattan turned 4,000 adolescents away from its shelter. The young people we meet are facing a range of challenges including return from criminal or juvenile justice involvement, teen parenting and pregnancy, tensions relating to immigration, family violence, living with parents or family members who are mentally ill or drug addicted, and homophobia. Many of these issues are best addressed by identifying alternative adult supports and activities that will ease tensions. They are also often best addressed by giving everyone – young people and their families – some time to cool down and rethink what is happening. We think Haven will provide all of those resources.