Twice weekly, trained professionals and volunteers from Doors of Change™ comb the streets and beaches of San Diego, engaging with young people who appear to be homeless, or at risk of homelessness. Offering water, socks, and sleeping bags provides the opportunity to engage youth in a conversation about what Doors of Change™ has to offer and encourage them to attend an upcoming class. Youth are treated with dignity and without judgment. Over 8,000 young people have interacted with the Outreach Team in the past five years.
At Taking Music & Art to the Streets (TMATS), professional and volunteer musicians and artists provide small group instruction to youth using a variety of instruments and art supplies. These artistic pursuits become a powerful mechanism for self-expression and skill mastery, and the youth being served begin creating new visions for their futures. This music instruction is accompanied by a host of other activities and services, such as yoga, haircuts, hot meals, hygiene supplies, clothing/shoes, and much more. By working closely with the Doors of Change™ talented and compassionate team, youth develop trust in the “system” and begin to ask for, and accept, additional social services. As a way of motivating ongoing participation, youth can earn their instruments/art supplies after attending six classes. To date, over 300 have earned instruments or art supplies. For many, these become their prized possessions. Approximately 60 youth are served each week, and nearly 400 each year.
Once youth are ready to accept more support, they engage with a Doors of Change™ case manager who helps them develop individual action plans. From accessing state IDs and Medi-Cal insurance to enrolling in job training programs or primary health care, case management services are available to all Doors of Change™ participants and are designed to help youth transition from the streets to permanent housing and self-sufficiency by connecting them with the multitude of community resources available to them. Hundreds of youth each year are connected to housing, employment, medical care, and mental health and addiction treatment services.
I would still be living on the street without the help of Doors Of Change.
– JC –