The Issue: Number of Youth Experiencing Homelessness
The Tacoma News Tribune reported that the number of Washington students experiencing homelessness in 2010–2011 had risen nearly 20% from the previous year and more than 50% over a five-year span. Youth who are homeless are at a greater risk for drug dependency, physical and sexual assault, and participation in gangs or crimes of desperation. However, many of these youth are distrustful of adults and authority, which keeps them from seeking assistance. Providing opportunities for youth to escape their problems for a night can help them relax and learn from role models.
The Campaign: Sending At-Risk Youth to Overnight Camp
All donations to this Grassroots campaign will be used by Cocoon House to give teenagers experiencing homelessness a summer-camp experience. For every $400 raised, Cocoon House can send 10 at-risk youth to an overnight summer camp. The camp includes recreational activities such as a rock climbing as well as healthful meals each day.
For seven consecutive years, this summer activities camp has helped to build trust among teenagers who are homeless, their peers, and the Cocoon House staff. By allowing the teens to be themselves and have fun instead of worrying about where they'll sleep or how they'll eat, the camp presents opportunities for service referral, counseling, and connecting youth with case managers or advocates who can guide them toward self-sufficiency.
Since 1991, Cocoon House has been providing resources for Snohomish County’s at-risk youth and those experiencing homelessness. The organization has adapted to the community’s need, expanding shelter space by 350% since its inception and now housing more than 230 young people (aged 13–21) each year. Through its street outreach, education, and drop-in resource center, Cocoon House supports more than 1,000 families and community members. It helps to empower youth and break the cycle of poverty by providing emergency shelter, long-term transitional housing, case management, advocacy, and homelessness prevention.