Why we need you!
Our Host home program is an innovative and scalable effort that could move the needle for Homeless Students. It will save money and lives, but will take a team.
Reasons you should be involved!
- Youth who are “new” to our streets are more likely to become chronically homeless if we do not intervene within 15 nights.
- 68.4% of homeless students scored below standards, 82.3% of homeless students scored below standard in math, and 60.4% of homeless students scored below standard in science.
- Youth that have experienced homelessness have a 50% higher chance of not having a high school diploma, than youth that have not had the experience. It is our goal to develop this program to interrupt this cycle and produce education and personal successes for 50 of these homeless youth.
- In 2017, we had 325 Bethel-Eugene 4J youth experiencing homelessness and identified as unaccompanied minors—90 dropped out of school.
- For every $1 spent on youth interventions that address homelessness, the community saves $4.12 according to a New Avenues for Youth study (Portland, Oregon 2010).
- Oregon estimates that 24,000 unaccompanied youth experience homelessness each year in Oregon.
- National studies indicate that most of these youth run away due to family conflict or abuse, while others are kicked out of their home or "thrown away‟.
- We are getting results-The percentage of unaccompanied students compared to the total number of homeless students in the 4J and Bethel school districts dropped from 26.3% in the 2013-2014 school year to 23.7% in the 2016-2017 school year.
- Last school year, 15th Night Rapid Access Network (RAN) Advocates sent alerts on behalf of 162 unaccompanied students with a total of 292 services and resource requested. The most common requests were for basic needs like clothing and shoes, food and shelter. As of the end of the year, 30 local, youth-serving organizations (“providers”) were responding to unaccompanied student needs via the 15th Night Rapid Access Network (RAN).
What is 15th Night?
One night on the street is too many. The 15th Night is a community-wide partnership that helps more than 480 of our Eugene-Springfield students who are navigating school and life alone, without a permanent place to spend the night. Bringing together existing community resources, the 15th Night focuses these resources on the safety and well-being of our vulnerable Eugene-Springfield youth who do not have a parent or guardian to support them. These resource teams include at least one representative from the University of Oregon, Bethel School District, Lane County Health and Human Services, the Eugene Police Department, City Councilor Ward 8, Eugene City Manager, Lane ESD, Eugene 4J School District, as well as over 30 area nonprofits.
Our latest effort is to work with individual High schools and their feeder middle schools on creating their own internal response team for homeless youth within their school, referred to as the School Mobilization Model. Our Host home program is at the core of engaging the school’s parent and teacher community, as well as local neighborhood groups and business, to wrap services and support all around these youth. We believe this is a program/effort that is innovative and could be reproduced in any community.
What is the Host Home Program?
Here in the Eugene/Springfield, homelessness is a wide-spread issue that many organizations have been grappling with for years. Many people turn to the Eugene Mission or other shelters in our community, to seek temporary housing, especially during the cold winter months. However, if you are an unaccompanied youth and you are experiencing homelessness, you do not have access to Adult Shelters, leaving youth with 7 beds at the one shelter we have for under 18, if they can get in, or sleeping on the street. Youth under the age of 18 are also unable to access many food distribution resources and resource centers due to their status as a minor.
Having a safe and stable place to call home is an immeasurably important resource that many of us take for granted. AFFEC will is providing homes for students referred to the 15th Night network, who are maintaining regular attendance at school, so they can experience this necessity, while completing their secondary education. These homes are split into two categories- short term and long term. Short term housing providers will house a youth as they enter the program, for up to 30 days, unless a bond is formed between the pair. While staying in this home, the youth will work with AFFEC to determine who can provide them with the most successful long term placement. The long term housing providers will house the youth for the duration of their high school career.
This sounds like a big commitment and it is. Housing providers are not allotted monthly stipends for supporting the youth and they assume a parental role in the relationship. However, the pair will be supported throughout the duration of their match by AFFEC and the 15th Night network, by being connected to the network.
AFFEC is licensed through the state of Oregon. As the only licensed Host home program in the state, we have an advantage to serve all ages, all background with no geographic barriers. Because we have successfully completed the licensing process we are also very committed to assisting other blooming Host home programs throughout the state.
The RAN technology was updated over the summer based on feedback from our community advocates and network of 30+ service providers. RAN 2.0 was successfully launched in late September and enables school specific RANs to be connected to the larger Community RAN.
The 15th Night expanded into Springfield this fall. Springfield Public Schools and the Springfield Police Department can now access the 15th Night RAN on behalf of students experiencing homelessness. Catholic Community Services, First Place Family Shelter, Whitebird Dental and the Eugene Mission have all joined the 30+ network of providers who responded in real time to the 292 alerts for help this year.
Sometimes the 15th Night Network is unable to meet a specific need of a student. This is where our Community Responder volunteers step into action. Over 50 people have volunteered receive alerts from the 15th Night when there is a need that is hard to fill like special clothing, shoes or gift cards for food.
Even students are stepping up for each other. The Economic Justice League (EJL) for homeless and economically-challenged youth, created with in South Eugene High School. Along with 15th Night, we are working to execute the vision of keeping kids in school and supporting those struggling with housing. One of South Eugene’s projects is opening a drop-in center for students to get help, support, and access to resources. This includes food throughout the school day as well as free dinners-to-go, access to computers and technology, washer and dryer, free counseling, and much more. The goal is to have this room open before school, during lunch, and after school for any student that needs support. We hope to bring in therapists, artists, performers, hair stylists, barbers, and mentors of all kinds. We plan to have Fancy Dinner nights, Hair/Makeup/Makeover nights, Open Mic/Performance nights, arts and crafts, movie and game nights, and more.
Working Together to Protect our Youth
15th Night Rapid Access Network Community Partners are working together to safeguard more than 480 Eugene-Springfield students who do not have a parent or guardian to support them, or a permanent place to call home. With thanks to their involvement, the 15th Night community movement can prevent Eugene-Springfield youth from going out on the street, and intervene quickly if they do. This partnership includes many state / government resource and over 30 community nonprofits that all make a commitment to work together.
What is the Sports and Outdoor Mentor Program?
The Sports and Outdoor Mentor Program provides mentoring for youth considered at-risk and may otherwise have to wait months to be matched with a mentor because of the high need for more active volunteers. In addition, the program provides unique opportunities for at-risk children to experience participatory and spectator sports as well as the abundance of outdoor activities Lane County has to offer.
How Does the Sports and Outdoor Mentor Program Work?
You will be matched with one youth or a sibling pair whom you will mentor for the duration of your commitment. At least once per week for 2-3 hours, you will meet with your youth to engage in an outdoor and/or sports activity (we’ll match you with a youth who likes the same activities you do!). You will be responsible for scheduling a time to meet with your youth and will keep A Family For Every Child up to date with your progress with monthly activity reports. There is a 6 month commitment, however, it can be extended!
What are the requirements?
The requirements are similar to our Mentor Program and just as easy! If you fit the following criteria you can be a Sports and Outdoor Mentor to a youth in our program:
- 19 years of age and older
- Willing to meet with buddy 2-3 hours per week for sports/outdoor mentoring
- Able to commit to 6 months of mentoring
- Able to pass a background check
- Able to provide three character references
- Able to mentor a youth in the Eugene or Springfield area
We’re here to guide and support you through this process — it’s easier than you think!
How is this program different from the Mentor Program?
This program is for youth in our program who are not yet matched with a mentor. While some of the basics are the same, there are some key differences:
- This program’s main focus is on sports and outdoor activities
- The time commitment is 6 months, as opposed to 18 months
- Youth are NOT allowed to visit their mentor’s home
- The minimum age for mentors is 19-years-old
What Types of Programs Do We Use?We use Microsoft Word PowerPoint to highlight the children, where we arrange the presentation in a very professional and useful way.
Does This Help with Adoption?A Family For Every Child’s Online Child Matching Events are becoming increasingly popular, and are especially helpful for children in foster care that have a harder time finding a forever family.
How Does This Work?Online Matching Events utilize easy, simple and accessible technology to portray foster children in a professional and aesthetically pleasing manner. We use several photos of the child to portray their everyday life, personality, and activities. The social worker presents a slideshow for every family that has an interest in the child.
Why these Events are Useful
Families are much more likely to become interested in a child after they’ve seen pictures and videos that represent the child’s personality, and after they’ve heard about the child’s behaviors directly from one of the people that know the child the best; their social worker.
Families love these webinars, and feel that this is a great way to “hear about [the children’s] real personalities” and they appreciate being able to “hear directly from the social workers who know the children best” (Source from an August 22nd Online Child Matching Event attendee.)
Interested In Attending?Online Matching Event Registration
Interested in Presenting?
(Clicking the link above; it will take you to an inquiry form that they fill out that will be e-mailed to AFFEC, alerting me that they are interested in presenting during an “Online Matching Event”. The MOU will also be on this page. The inquiry form will have first name, last name, agency, e-mail, how they heard about our matching events, what month they are interested in presenting, and if they’ve presented-tycfg-d in the past. Maybe what child they’d like to present as well but this one can be an option.)
What is the Heart Gallery
The Heart Gallery is an “art exhibit” of beautiful professional photographs of local and nationwide children who are currently in foster care and waiting to be adopted. Our Heart Gallery displays the personalities of our foster children and siblings that are waiting to find their forever families by photographing them in settings outside of a caseworker’s office. These are the smiles of children you see in your neighborhood playing, children that your child goes to school with, these are children you could see as an addition to your family someday. The Heart Gallery is not just a program, it is the hope that you can provide a forever family for a waiting foster child. It is designed to bring awareness to the foster care system and children that are in search of permanent homes. Professional photographers volunteer their time to take beautiful pictures of children presently in foster care that are waiting for their forever family. A Family For Every Child’s Heart Gallery works closely with child welfare partners to coordinate these photo sessions for adoption recruitment.
The Heart Galleries can be seen everywhere: from the grocery store to your church to the car dealership and everywhere in between. The goal of our Heart Gallery is simple-to-open the mind and heart of the viewer to the idea of adoption.
Who are the Heart Gallery Children
The children pictured represent the 500,000 children in foster care in the United States, 30,000 of whom are here in the Northwest, waiting for a forever family to love them. Since A Family For Every Child was founded more than 500 foster children have been featured in Heart Galleries, and more than 250 have found their forever families.
Photographers in every state across the country donate their time and services to take these beautiful photos. The photos they take capture the personalities of the children and help them on their path to finding forever families.
“The kids are really three of the sweetest children I have ever encountered. Considering the circumstances, I just didn’t know what to expect. Little J*** ran up and hugged me around my legs when we walked in. That was
just about too much for me a softy at heart but tries not to show it. Patient, courteous, and sweet to each other was not what I expected. The foster parents really cared for the kids. Again, my pre-conception was that they
might be just doing it to make a little money (who doesn’t need that), but I was really impressed with how they loved the kids. Those three are lucky to have a safety net as good as that.”
“I feel truly blessed to be able to use my talent to help these beautiful kids find their forever families. Nothing compares to the joy that comes from giving them a chance to let their personality shine in front of the camera.
It is worth every minute and as they say, “priceless”.”
– Dawn Marie Barth
“I volunteer because I love being able to showcase the beauty and inner love of children by capturing their photos. It’s amazing to see their personalities and their smiles, and I want to share that with everyone! Every
kid deserves to have a family that adores and loves them, so being able to contribute any little thing I can is the best feeling in the world. It’s also incredible to see these families who take them in and provide them with
safe and loving homes until their forever families come. Beautiful moments like that need to be caught on camera!”
– Meg Hainz
“For us, the chance to connect with a kiddo and make them feel loved and seen in that moment, is worth every minute. It’s not just about them getting their picture taken. It’s about having an experience where they
feel valued and loved. We also love that we get the chance to do what we’re passionate about for such a worthy cause, capturing the heart and personalities of these kiddos with our cameras.”
-Mike and Julie Smith (with MIKE + JULIE | storytellers)
“AFFEC holds a special place in my heart and in my work. I will always find time away from my busy schedule to photograph AFFEC’s children who are getting yet another step closer to finding their forever family.
To be able to photograph these children is a special privilege for me. Every single child I have photographed left an imprint on me even though I only spend a little bit time with them. But during that time we share
stories, we laugh, we play. My wish for all of the children is to find the best possible forever family and to be happy, loved and respected.”
– Livia Fremouw
“I love the Heart Gallery. When I worked at Market Of Choice they had pictures there. One day this little girl was sitting on her dad’s shoulders and he pointed to the picture wall and said, “Your picture used to be right
there – I had told you I found you in grocery store.” And the girl started laughing and smiled at the wall. That about broke my heart in a happy way, I almost cried. And that’s why I love the Heart Gallery.”
– Brittany Goodman
What does it cost to set up a Heart Gallery?
Can any business have a Heart Gallery?
How do I become a volunteer?
Do these children really get adopted?
Are these actual pictures of the children?
Is there any liability as a business owner?
Do Heart Galleries only display local children?
What happens if a frame breaks?
How often are displays changed?
Who is responsible for the display?
A Family for Every Child (una familia para todos los niños) es una organización enfocada en encontrar hogares adoptivos permanentes y amorosos para niños de crianza temporal que están esperando. En los últimos 12 años, hemos desarrollado 10 programas que ayudan a los niños con necesidades especiales para encontrarles sus propias familias para siempre. Nuestros programas incluyen:
Heart Gallery (galería de corazones): The Heart Gallery es una herramienta utilizada para involucrar y educar la comunidad sobre las situación difíciles de los niños que viven en hogares de crianza temporal. Hacemos esto al mostrar imágenes profesionales y biografías de los niños esperando en lugares locales. Trabajamos con más de 50 negocios, lugares corporativos y religiosos
El sitio de web: Usamos nuestro sitio web para trabajar con los Heart Galleries y con asistentes sociales para proporcionar y facilitar imágenes profesionales e información sobre niños en crianza temporal. También es una herramienta de reclutamiento independiente con opciones de listado públicas y privadas.
La Programa de asistencia complementaria (MAP): El programa está diseñado para ayudar a las familias adoptivas a hacer frente al proceso de adopción complicado y, a menudo, frustrante y complicado. El concepto es tener una persona en nuestro personal y un sitio web de inicio de sesión exclusivamente para estas familias
Estamos aquí para ayudarlo ya sea si apenas está buscando recursos, si está empezando el proceso de adoptar, si está esperando una colocación, o si está buscando recursos postadopción. Todavía estamos en el proceso de traducir el sitio de web. Para información, recursos, o consultas enviarnos un correo electrónico a email@example.com.
- Recruit social workers to help you choose children for the project. Not all children are comfortable participating in the Heart Gallery.
- Recognize team members’ best skills. If one member is good at networking and another at editing, assign tasks accordingly.
- Reach out for help from within the local community.
- Recommend that foster parents and social workers will help prepare children for, and support them during, the project.
- Request the input of others; it makes them feel more involved and invested, and may help you do your job better. Ask others for contacts and referrals.
- Rally those involved! Keep everyone informed on the progress and outcome of the event.
- Locate your exhibit venue by promoting the public relations benefits of the exhibit (the venue is named in ads and media coverage). The venue does not have to be a gallery. All you need is ample and attractive space, easy access, and plenty of parking.
- Lead your request with your most professional or captivating portraits. They inspire people to donate and can be scanned for use in press releases, print ads, and other materials.
- Link with prospective donors via a faxed request, phone call, or personal visit and be specific about what you’re requesting.
- Laud sponsors in writing and at the event.
- Take time to locate a media guide that lists your state’s press contacts.
- Tailor your request to each media source. A good “hook” is an interview with someone who has/was adopted, or is otherwise sympathetic to child welfare issues. Establish contact early so you have time to build interest.
- Target several children who can serve as “spokeskids.” They should be able to interact with reporters and photojournalists and speak briefly at the event.
- Think national and local. One can often lead to the other.
- Tell radio stations and television stations about the event. Some
may give you free time to talk, especially if you purchase some
advertising spots and show producers the portraits’ artistic and human
- Go through proper channels. Call the Screen Actors Guild at 323-954-1600 for contact information (agents, managers, etc.). Celebrities who live in the area near the event are most likely to attend.
- Gather celebrities who have a reputation for being involved with nonprofit organizations or who have a connection with children’s issues, especially adoption or foster care.
- Generate a request letter to tell the contact about your organization, the purpose of the event, and exactly what will be asked of the celebrity. Fax the letter to the celebrity contact.
- Grant the celebrity permission to speak or perform. Plan for adequate space and refreshments to accommodate your expected audience. Although including a celebrity involves more work, it can increase your event’s visibility in the eyes of the public and the press.
Sample print material (Acrobat PDF format)
- Action Plan from Minnesota Heart Gallery
- Newspaper insert
- Press release
- Photo release
- Photographer’s agreement from Arizona Heart Gallery
- Photographer’s agreement/protocol from Minnesota Heart Gallery
- Program (999KB)
- Print ad
- Marketing leave-behind for potential sponsors from Orange County Heart Gallery
- Marketing how-to-help for potential sponsors from Orange County Heart Gallery
If you have further questions about starting a Heart Gallery please see contacts listed from other states.
Featured Heart Gallery
While out doing your shopping stop by the food court and take a look at our Heart Gallery! Just click the QR code located on each child’s biography to learn more about each child’s personality and interests. You may be the perfect match!