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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Children & Youth Services, Family Services for Adolescent Parents, Homeless & Housing, Homeless Shelters, Youth Development Programs

Mission: Abused and homeless young people deserve brighter futures. Alternative House - The Abused and Homeless Children's Refuge helps children and youth achieve this by providing shelter, food, and counseling to abused, homeless and at-risk young people. Beginning as a small runaway shelter for teenagers in 1972, Alternative House - The Abused and Homeless Children's Refuge has evolved into a system of services designed to respond to the changing needs of today's young people. We provide food, clothing, therapy and in some cases, shelter at our Emergency Shelter for Teenagers, the Assisting Young Mothers (AYM) program for pregnant and parenting teenage mothers and their babies, neighborhood based outreach at our Family Resource Centers in Culmore and Springfield, after-school programs for at-risk children in Culmore and Annandale, a drop in Teen Center, and more.

Target demographics: abused, homeless, and at-risk young people and their families.

Direct beneficiaries per year: more than 2,670 runaway, homeless, abused and at-risk young people receive services

Geographic areas served: Fairfax County, VA

Programs: The Emergency Shelter for Teenagers—a 3-week crisis shelter for youth 13 to 17 years old. 24-hour crisis hotline 1-800-SAY-TEEN that is affiliated with the National Runaway Switchboard. Assisting Young Mothers—a transitional living program for homeless young women 16 to 24 years old who are pregnant or have small children. The Homeless Youth Initiative—provides housing, case management and counseling to homeless Fairfax County students who do not have the support of a parent or guardian. Community Based Services—neighborhood outreach designed to bring services to at-risk youth and families, including: The Culmore Youth Outreach Program at the Culmore Teen Center. The Culmore and Annandale Safe Youth Projects, after-school programs for 4th, 5th, and 6th graders. Alternative House offers a myriad of supportive services, including walk-in crisis counseling, family therapy, information and referral, community education, etc. All programs and services come at no cost

Community Stories

14 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Board Member

Rating: 5

Alternative House, the abused and homeless children's refuge, is a fantastic organization, helping hundreds of at risk youth in Northern Virginia each year. In addition to the emergency shelter, they have special programs for young mothers, homeless youth, and after school and summer enrichment programs, so kids have meals, counseling and a safe place to grow and thrive. All of the programs stress life skills, job skills, conflict resolution, health and nutrition, etc. in an effort to break the cycles of poverty and abuse. It's a great organization run by very competent and caring people.

Previous Stories
2

Board Member

Rating: 5

Alternative House, the abused and homeless children's refuge, is a fantastic organization, helping hundreds of at risk youth in Northern Virginia each year. In addition to the emergency shelter, they have special programs for young mothers and after school and summer enrichment programs, so kids have meals, counseling and safe outlets year round. Everyone should know of their great work in the community.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Alternative House transforms the lives of children and youth helping them stay safe, make positive decisions, achieve educational success, and overcome personal crises. They offer children and families hope for brighter futures by providing counseling, shelter and neighborhood-based support. I became involved with this Charity both in giving my time and donations as I was very impressed with the many different ways they help youth. All aspects of Alternative House are outstanding from the wonderful staff and volunteers, the programs, the facilities and the care and difference that they make in many people's lives.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

I recently joined the board of this organization, mainly because I was so impressed with what they do for the children in our community. The organization has an outstanding exective director and staff that is dedicated to helping young people in need get back on their feet.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Alternative House for two years, both as a volunteer and a Board member. In my volunteer capacity, I worked with the teens being housed at the shelter and attended the facilitated groups helping to improve their coping skills. The staff is knowledgeable, compassionate and skilled. I am also a mentor for homeless teens at one of our youth homes, and found this program to be invaluable for those individuals who were dedicated to getting their high school degrees but had nowhere to live -- this gave them safe shelter, and the peace of mind to concentrate on their educations. Alternative House provides multiple fantastic programs. The administrative staff and Board of Directors is excellent, and the budgetary discipline is exemplary. I highly recommend this program.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Alternative House is known in the Northern Virginia area as the abused and homeless children's refuge. It is the only local area emergency shelter for teens and youths. But the Alternative House does so much more. It also runs a separate program that provides housing and shelter to young mothers (its Assisting Young Mothers program). Additionally, it runs a hotline, after school programs, counseling, and numerous other community outreach efforts.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked with AH for the past two years, and found it to be an extremely well-run organization providing services critical to teens in trouble. The staff is excellent and caring, the executive team knowledgeable, compassionate and efficient, and the volunteers willing and ready to help. I continue to work with them because our young people need a place to go when they're in trouble, and this one offers the help and understanding they need. I wish they had more funding to expand!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Now that my children have gotten older, I am in need of loving babies. The time that I have spent rocking babies and reading to toddlers has been very rewarding. Giving of your time and resources to charities outside of our area is great, but to give back locally is the best. I find myself thinking of these children and young mothers alot. I like to bring something little for the kids most weeks. Crayons, puzzles, and maybe matchbox cars. I don't feel like I am just putting my time in. I hope that I am giving as much as I am getting from the hour and a half every week.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It is amazing one of the most fulfilling things I have done in my life to know I have helped make a child's life different.. Be it thru cleaning, cooking or just answering a phone! It all helps! The Counselor's and Staff at Alternative House are amazing and go above and beyond to help children/teens in need! I love it here and could not think of a better place to Volunteer at! I hope everyone get's a chance to give back in life...

2

Former staff

Rating: 5

My experience with Alternative House began with being selected as their graphic design intern in 2006. While there, I had the opportunity to witness the everyday workings of a nonprofit group. Not only was I able to create a poster promoting their important services at local schools, I was able to interact personally with the shelter's clients and gain a broader perspective of their work. In fact, I part of my poster assignment was to incorporate a way for those interested to be able to take a physical card from the poster with the shelter's information on it. I was stumped as to how I could attach a container of business cards to my poster. After consulting with some of the shelter's clients, one young lady had the idea of making a lower portion of the poster pull tabs -- and it worked! Since graduating, I have returned home to Kansas City, but continue to service their design needs. I am so happy to be connected to the causes Alternative House promotes.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

Alternative House, it's staff and it's volunteers, provides such an incredible support to homeless, runaway, abused teens in our area. I find the work done there allows these teens to stay in school, become productive, not to follow a cycle they were once in. From doing some volunteer work in the shelter, I see how hard everyone works to make this place a safe shelter. It is very hard to put into words the awe I feel of these individuals and the work that they do.