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Alternatives For Girls

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Children & Youth Services, Homeless & Housing, Homeless Shelters, Youth Community Service Clubs

Mission: To help homeless and high risk girls and young women avoid violence, teen pregnancy, and exploitation, and to help them to explore and access the support, resources, and opportunities necessary to be safe, to grow strong, and to make positive choices in their lives.

Programs: The transition to independent living program assists homeless young women between the ages of 15 and 21 by guiding them toward successful, safe, and independent living. The program begins with safe housing and supportive services to the runaway, emergency shelter, and transition to independent living participants. The program provides residential services for a maximum of 21 months. During this time, young women can transition into the organization's independent living program, where they are supported in developing the necessary life skills to enable them to live independently. Individual, group, and family counseling and support, as well as parenting skills (when applicable), education and employment skills and referrals, and a structured course of independent living skills training, are provided. These services continue to build on each client's skills and provide the support necessary for each client to maintain independent living. The total program spans up to 21 months or a young woman's 21st birthday, whichever comes first, with an average stay of nine to 12 months. The residential program served 97 young women, including 16 minors, who received a combined 8,067 nights of care. 33 unduplicated young women received after care services. 15 young women served were pregnant at intake, 23 were parenting, and 7 were both pregnant and parenting. Participants were provided 2,000 hours of life skills classes.

the southwest detroit prevention program targets at-risk girls ages 4 to 21, with the aim of diverting girls from a life course that would lead to street life and hopelessness, drug abuse, school dropout, and other issues. The program's goals are to increase the girls' self-esteem, strengthen their personal values and interpersonal relationships with peers and adults, improve school attendance and performance, and ultimately help them build the skills necessary to make positive choices for their futures. This programming is performed through workshops, field trips, mentoring, special events, and a summer program. Additional services are provided to the girls' families in order to strengthen their family system so that their living environment is not a contributing factor to high-risk behaviors. 186 girls and young women participated in after-school workshops, mentoring, and the summer program. 115 hours of after-school tutoring and homework assistance were provided to 74 participants. 130 hours of summer programming were provided to 58 girls. 500 hours of staff-led after school programming were provided. 15 high school young women were employed in the summer program.

the outreach and education program works directly with girls and women who are engaged in high-risk activities, such as prostitution, homelessness, family issues, and more. Either by van or community education efforts, individuals reached are provided material assistance, resources, and skills to reduce the risks in their lives. In addition to the programming outside of the organization, the program facilitates the organization's resource center, a 24-hour referral line to members in the community who may or may not be eligible for the organization's services. The program also facilitates a peer education program for both high-risk youth and girls and women exiting the sex industry. Peer educators receive a stipend for their participation, which includes facilitating outreach activities, supporting staff in preparation of these outreach activities, and working on their own individual risk behaviors. As part of this program, the organization has a small social enterprise project teaching girls and women to sew so that they may get employment or start businesses out of their homes. 809 individuals were served on street outreach. 7,449 referral and information handouts were distributed on the streets or in community outreach. 3,834 male condoms and 1,397 help cards were distributed. 324 hours of sewing education and job skill training were provided.

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