Mission: Covenant house georgia recognize god's providence and fidelity to his people are dedicated to living out his covenant among ourselves and those children we serve, with absolute respect and unconditional love. That commitment calls us to serve suffering children of the street, and to protect and safeguard all children. Just as christ in his humanity is the visible sign of god's presence among his people, so our efforts together in the covenant community are a visible sign that effects the presence of god, working through the holy spirit among ourselves and our kids.
Programs: The pj garcia youth center is our crisis shelter, a residential program staffed 365 days a year. The light is always on. It is the front line, providing services to homeless youth ages 18-21. The center is designed to assist youth in immediate need of housing and crisis intervention. The shelter provides necessities to youth for up to 90 days. Clients are assessed for areas of need, including mental health and/or substance abuse treatment, medical care, and educational and vocational needs. This information informs the development of each individual client's specific case plan.
rights of passage (rop) is our independent living program. It is a passage, but it's not the finish line. Rop uses long-term residential services (up to 24 months) to build upon the existing case plan developed at our crisis shelter. The program features a 24-bed transitional housing facility onsite and additional off-site apartments. Case managers ensure a continuation of the case plans developed during the shelter stay. During the first 30 days in rop, residents attend an orientation to living independently in an apartment. [see schedule o for continuation] they utilize public transportation, and are asked to meet occupancy expectations to ensure a safe and productive living environment. It's a program with a huge dividend. Independent residents can live in their apartment for up to two years. These programs promote youth self-sufficiency by providing them with opportunities to build leadership skills and become more involved in their communities.
support services provides the following: educational services-our educational program features two different learning communities: an academic learning community, which focuses on general education, ged, adult basic education, and college preparation; and an positive youth development learning community, which focuses on self-advocacy, civic engagement, global citizenship, and personal empowerment. [see schedule o for continuation] job services-chga's vocational program prepares youth for entering the job market. Topics include how to find a job, resume building, interview skills, professional behavior, and general office etiquette. The value of these programs cannot be overestimated. Employers get the most out of their employees when they have been given the proper job training. Learning practical job skills with a group of other motivated job-seekers is a fun and exciting opportunity. Health and wellness-thanks to our partnership with community advanced practice nurses (capn), youth who come to covenant house georgia receive a complete physical upon entry into our program. For some, this is the first physical they have received since they were a young child - for some, their first physical ever. Any health care needs that are identified through the physical are then met through partnerships with area health providers. We also work to ensure the long term health of our young people by teaching them good health and hygiene habits. Twice a week, the youth attend physical fitness classes. They also have outings to piedmont park, local area basketball courts, and other facilities to encourage physical activity and health. Nutritional speakers are brought in to teach our youth about healthy eating, and vegetables are harvested from our organic garden to include in the evening meals of the youth! Mental health services-youth who have lived on the streets typically have a history of trauma and abuse that led them to flee to the streets, but once on the streets, many youth continue to experience trauma at the hands of another abuser. Our behavioral health team is experienced in trauma-informed care and provides a variety of treatment services for our youth. - individual counseling: our counselors provide the much needed support to put our youth on the road to healing. Every youth who enters our doors receives an assessment and an individual case plan. After the initial assessment, that youth starts evidenced based behavioral health therapy (dbt, cbt, trauma and solution focused treatment, strength based, or insight oriented brief treatment) according to their case plan so that he/she can begin to deal with the trauma that prevents them from coping and functioning independently. - group counseling: group counseling sessions are provided for youth who have similar backgrounds. During group sessions, youth are encouraged to talk about their situations and share their experience with other group members. Through sharing, trust and bonds are created and healing can begin. - experiential and non-traditional therapy: helping our youth heal from the wounds of their past is what covenant house georgia's experiential and non- traditional therapy programs are designed to do. We provide an array of non-traditional and recreational activities to help our youth heal and regain their emotional and functional stability. Art therapy, low ropes course activities, gardening, performing arts, music, and drumming are all utilized to help our youth achieve both emotional and behavioral goals. - family therapy: interventions and supports are provided to youth and their families when the option of family reunification is a potential housing goal. This type of intervention assists families and youth to develop greater coping skills, manage stressors, and help to explore unresolved grief and loss issues. Family therapy using the power of relationships, resources, and significate connections to regain/ reinforce a family's stability. Life skills development- our life readiness program provides vital trainings such as personal budgeting, financial planning, pursuing a career-track job, community building, strengthening family relations, and many other areas that benefit each youth throughout her/his lifetime. Other services-in working with homeless youth, we find ourselves introducing new services on an as needed basis to meet the needs of the diverse population we serve. Working with our partners, we can create programs which are flexible to meet various needs of our youth. Community service center-in our csc drop-in center, we provide laundry, showers, lunch, case management, job readiness, and other housing resources for youth who may have aged-out of our residential program but who still need interventions. We serve an average of 60 youth per month, five days a week.
outreach:street outreach program-nothing is more vital to our mission than reaching out to those in need. The street outreach program teams are made up of staff, volunteers and our resident youth who are familiar with the areas homeless youth tend to hide. They go out onto the streets on a weekly basis to engage homeless teens and provide information about our services. Food and other supplies are provided as needed. A street outreach contact, more often than not, is a vital first step in building a relationship with a young person who may have lost trust in adults and organizations willing to help. There may be no bridge back, but there is a bridge forward. School outreach-referrals to and from area schools, along with contacts with local educators, are indispensable. The mckinney-vento act is a federal law that guarantees educational rights of children and youth on their own who are experiencing homelessness. Each school system is required to have a homeless liaison that works with youth who are homeless and covenant house georgia partners with the homeless liaisons in metro-atlanta to identify youth who are in need of our services. We also have relationships with the open campus high schools in atlanta and often receive referrals for youth who are homeless or who have run away from home.