Volunteering with Gateway Community Services will provide you with a rewarding and life-changing opportunity to work with youth in our programs. Gateway Community Services provides a variety of services to homeless, troubled, and/or displaced youth. Some of these services include transitional living and emergency shelter, known as the Crossroads Program and Higher Ground. In the Crossroads and Higher Ground programs, our volunteers have the opportunity to work directly with youth between the ages of 12-21. The Crossroads program is structured to help youth transition from dependency to total independent living. Our volunteers work with the youth to teach them basic living skills that will allow them to become independent and ready to transition out into their community and the real world. The Higher Ground program offers emergency shelter for runaway and homeless youth and crisis intervention. Both programs offer counseling for the youth and their parents.
Our volunteers gain intrinsic rewards for their time. They are able to reap the benefits of being able to change lives in our programs. They are able to provide a support system for the youth. They are able to show the youth the basic ropes of how to go out into the community and survive. They listen to the youth. They talk to the youth. They help tutor the youth, find resources, laugh together, cook together, and develop other important skills that will benefit the youth in our program.
As a volunteer, you will work alongside our Direct Care Staff and Clinical team in order to understand the daily activities of what is involved in caring for the youth. We treat our volunteers as staff and our youth look up to our volunteers as positive role models.
We are looking for volunteers that will be consistent. A youth comes from a home or a place that was considered inconsistent, and looks for consistency within our program and with our staff. We have many ways that you can volunteer within the Crossroads and Higher Ground programs. We also have other programs that provide Education and Employment services to youth, teaching youth about Violence Prevention, and seeking helpless youth through the Street Outreach Program.
Here’s how you can help:
- Research homeless issues with your friends and family and help them understand the problem as it relates to your community.
- Connect youth with our 24 hour crisis line @1-877-833-3689 or @ 517-882-7217.
- Share a skill or hobby with youth in shelter. Teach them how to sew, change a tire, care for a garden, etc.
- Be a mentor to youth who lack positive, supportive adult role models.
- Collect clothing, hygiene supplies, blankets, first aid supplies, children’s toys, baby items, etc. to give to our youth on the street and in shelter.
- Come to the shelter and work with youth on cooking and nutrition.
- Hold a non-perishable food drive in your neighborhood or community.
- Help tutor youth who are struggling in school or needing to improve their reading and math skills.
- Teach computer or other job building skills to youth.
- Grow a vegetable garden and donate some of the food to the shelter.
- Hold a winter coat drive and collect coats, boots, hats, gloves, and scarves for teens.
- Gather art and school supplies from your friends, neighbors, and local grocers.
- Assemble hygiene baskets full of toiletries and linens.
- Sponsor a homeless youth for their birthday or during the holiday season.
- Have a meal or other benefit to raise money for runaway, homeless, and struggling youth.
- Bring your whole family to the shelter to help with yard work (raking, weeding, planting flowers).
- Prepare a meal or some baked goods and drop them off at the shelter.
- Help out in the administrative office by answering phones, filing, sorting mail, preparing spreadsheets, and other office tasks.
- Hold a backpack drive in your community and help homeless teens return to school prepared.
- Join the Street Outreach Team as a volunteer and talk to homeless youth on the street, helping them transition from the street to shelter.
- Sponsor a youth for a haircut or some free passes to the gym.
- Donate your gift certificates.
- Help baby-sit, freeing teen parents to attend important counseling and case management appointments.
- OR, bring us your idea of a way to help.
If you are interested in volunteering, please contact us at:
Tel: 517-882-4000 ext. 110