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January 28, 2010

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January 28, 2010

Covenant House Michigan has a simple call: To love and care for all children and young adults unconditionally. The way they meet that call far exceeds expectations. Most people know CHM offers shelter, food, clothing, and even healthcare services on-site. Did you know it also offers a transitional living program where youths may live up to two years learning to live independently, get a job, and save money? Or that CHM runs three charter schools in Detroit in addition to GED prep classes on its campus? How about the community service centers that provide inner-city kids a safe haven to spend free time engaging in crafts, counseling, computer classes, ESL instruction and other forms of crisis intervention? These services and more are part of a comprehensive "contiuum of care" aimed at equipping all kids with physical, educational, emotional, psychological and spiritual tools and OPPORTUNITIES to succeed, beginning with simply keeping them off the streets. I find it amazing that CHM continued EXPANDING its mission even during this crippling recession. There's an inverse relationship between economic prosperity and demand for CHM's services: as the economy worsens, people donate less which cuts into CHM's budget; yet schools are closing, people are losing their homes, and more kids end up on the street without access to basic necesseties or stability in their lives. So, money goes down while demand goes up. It speaks not only to the quality of CHM staff, but also its amazing base of donors and volunteers who all feel compelled to help a little bit more in times like these.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

spending time with residents, listening to their stories and how far they have come.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

establish a second campus to increase the numbers of beds available in its Crisis Center and Rights of Passage programs, and staff a couple of psychologists.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

making friends with its staff.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

ordinary people trying to understand and lift up a wounded part of society.

Ways to make it better...

I could offer more time.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

keeping kids encouraged as they graduate or obtain their GED in the face of Detroit's fifteen-plus percent unemployment.

One thing I'd also say is that...

it's hard to convince kids to come through CHM's gates when they don't trust anyone; keep them there when they're so used to struggling; convince them that the work is worth the reward; and accept love when they feel unworthy.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

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