Putting the Healy Spirit into action, Healy Group’s Carsten Schmidt went “Over the Edge” for the Youth Services Bureau to build awareness and raise funds to help the local non-profit battle youth homelessness.
About YSB’s “Over the Edge”
“Agreeing to rappel down the building in support of Youth Service Bureau, was an easy decision. The fear and uncertainty associated with the rappel is nothing compared to the home environments of so many youths in our community,” said Healy Insurance Risk Management Advisor Carsten Schmidt. “We are fortunate to have such a great organization to assist struggling youth in our community find their bearings and obtain safe and secure living arrangements.”
In its second year, “Over the Edge” raised $120,000 for the Youth Services Bureau. “This year we were able to double the amount we raised last year,” said Youth Services Bureau Director of Marketing and Development Christina McGovern. “The additional funds will go toward program support.”
Tackling Youth Homelessness Head-On
In St. Joseph County, 1200 young people experience homelessness during the year, explained McGovern. Youth Service Bureau’s mission is to connect with adolescents help them get out of crisis and realize their potential. In addition, to establishing Safe Place sites and providing a temporary shelter for homeless youth, the organization also provides programs to help them overcome obstacles and become self-sufficient.
Identifying and finding homeless adolescents is challenging, but a critical part of their mission.
“Teenagers often don’t disclose they are homeless,” McGovern said. “With adolescents, we have a small window to intervene and connect with them and help them find their potential.”
The National Safe Place Program is an immediate connecting point to youth. St. Joseph County has 116 Safe Places, including Martin’s, fire stations, and Transpo buses. Youth Services Bureau also makes presentations in area middle schools and high schools. A grant makes it possible for the organization to add a staff person to reach out to youth on the street and in schools’ lunch programs.
The first step is to get the individual out of crisis, so he or she can think more clearly, explained McGovern. “Then we start working on ‘What are the next steps?’ All our programs are connected. That’s what makes the organization so effective.”
Depending on the home situation, Youth Services Bureau will focus on finding the adolescent a safe living environment. The organization operates a temporary shelter that can accommodate eight adolescents for approximately 21 days. “After we address the living arrangements, we tackle the issues and help the adolescents gain the skills and education they need to reach their full potential,” said McGovern.
The Youth Services Bureau’s Wholistic Approach
Youth Services Bureau also serves young moms, helping them become more self-sufficient with education and employment. “The staff works with them to help them build their parenting skills and realize their full ability as parents,” McGovern said.
The last fiscal year, Youth Services Bureau served 322 young mothers, ages 16-24, and sheltered 200 adolescents between the ages of 12-18.
The organization’s transitional living program for homeless pregnant parenting young moms and non-parenting teens between the ages of 16-22 provides safe living accommodations, and services to help them develop the skills necessary to become independent adults. “By the time they graduate, they can live in an apartment and they have some money saved,” said McGovern.
For over 20 years, Youth Services Bureau has placed nine youth development specialists in Penn-Harris-Madison Title 1 and middle schools to help teachers intervene with children in crisis.
“We know the young people we touch know more and are in a better place than when they arrived,” said McGovern. “We show them they are worth something. We help them build some skills and build up their confidence and sense of worth.”
Living the Healy Spirit: Partnering with the YSB
This year, 55 volunteers from the community participated in “Over The Edge” to raise funds to support the mission of the Youth Services Bureau. Schmidt went over the edge, and he was one of the top fundraisers for the event.
The Healy Group not only provides employee benefits and insurance coverage for non-profit clients, we give back to the organizations we serve. We live by the Healy Spirit: Love Wins; Make It A Great Day; Do the Right Thing; Be Better.
To #spreadthespirit, Healy Group employees and owners can choose to donate $3 to wear jeans on Friday. Each quarter, the Friday Jean Day proceeds are donated to a charity chosen by the employees and owners.
You don’t have to rappel down a 10-story building to support Youth Service Bureau. You can support Youth Services Bureau’s mission to help young people who are homeless and feeling over the edge by
• Donating an item on their wish list
• Supporting the organization with a monetary gift
About the Healy Group’s Carsten Schmidt:
Carsten Schmidt, a Risk Management Advisor at the Healy Group, has over eight years in risk management and 20 years in community banking. He is a past president of Rotary Club of South Bend. He serves as president of the board for Bethany Miracle Village, a preschool and primary school in Uganda focused on educating children through 7th grade, a cause close to his heart.