Volunteer Spotlight: Evangelyn Nkwopara

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Evangelyn Nkwopara is more than a volunteer.  Evangelyn brings a dependable, steadfast, and light-hearted disposition to Teen Feed every Wednesday night. As an Advocate, she provides a welcomed warmth to youth at Teen Feed on a weekly basis. It is our pleasure to feature her in our August Volunteer Spotlight.

When did you start at Teen Feed? What inspired you to volunteer with us?

October? Yeah, October of 2013.  At the time I was looking for volunteer opportunities. I had met Katelyn Stickel, a Teen Feed employee at the time, and she recommended that I volunteer with Teen Feed.  Not long after, I came in for orientation, and here I am to this day, almost a year later.

What was your impression of Teen Feed when you started?

The first night I volunteered as an advocate, I just started talking.  A part of me worried at first that I might not be doing it right or might not be doing enough.   It’s weird.  As an advocate you’re not actively feeding anyone. Your not giving them advice.  You’re not doing any of the things that we associate with giving to people in need. You’re simply having a normal conversation like you would with your friends, and that’s just as important as handing someone a meal.

We love food here at Teen Feed. What did you eat today?

This morning I ate an apple and a Ham and Cheese Hot Pocket.

How does volunteering at Teen Feed affect other parts of your life? 

I recently moved to Capitol Hill, and I see a lot of the guests that we serve around my neighborhood. They say hi to me, and I say hi to them. Through Teen Feed, I am now more aware that homelessness is experienced in my community. Homelessness isn’t always visible, especially not in Seattle.   Living in other cities you see poverty all around you, and here, it’s less visible and it’s harder to see the daily struggles that people face.  Volunteering at Teen Feed has brought it to light for me.

What is your favorite meal you have at Teen Feed?

I really like the Kavamata Meal Team’s spaghetti night. It is both really filling meal and very tasty.

What advice would you give to new volunteers? 

I guess I would tell them to get rid of any preconceived notions that they have of what it means to volunteer.  At Teen Feed I have learned something new.  The experience has opened up my mind to something that I have always known about, but never had the chance to participate in.

Thank you for your commitment to youth, Evangelyn!

To learn more about Teen Feed’s Advocate, Ally, and Meal Team volunteer programs, click here. To support Teen Feed’s work and the lives of homeless young people, click here.

 

Table Captain Resources!

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What Is a Table Captain?

A Table Captain agrees to invite friends, colleagues and family to fill a table of 8 guests at Teen Feed’s “More than a Meal” Luncheon on Thursday, October 9, 2014. We make it easy! Our Table Captain Resource Packet provides personalized support and all the resources one needs to fill a table. Table Captains play a critical role in helping connect people who may want to support an organization like Teen Feed to the work we do in the community. Teen Feed has doubled the number of meals it serves over the past 4 years, and we need your help to meet the growing need.

Need Resources or Support?

Please reach Suzanne Sullivan Development and Communications Director at suzanne@teenfeed.org or call 206.949.1092.

Premier Table Captain

A Premier Table Captain purchases a table of 8 for $1,000 and invites guests to join them at the luncheon. Table Captains select the Premier option to inspire their guests to match their giving or to satisfy the requested minimum donation for their guests. Premier Table Captains can fulfill their $1,000 commitment through a one-time donation made in advance of or at the event or through a monthly or quarterly pledge.

Hosting Table Captain

A hosting Table Captain invites guests to join them at their table at the luncheon, offering the opportunity for them to personally support Teen Feed’s work. This is an ideal opportunity to introduce Teen Feed’s work to people at your workplace, social groups and more. Filling a table with like-minded people helps introduce the community to Teen Feed, the youth we serve, and opportunities to be more involved.

Click here to register today.

 

Volunteer Spotlight: Kit T.

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It is our extreme pleasure to introduce you to our July Volunteer Spotlight, Kit! Kit brings her whole self to Teen Feed every Tuesday night as an Ally volunteer, providing a peer connections for youth while sharing the warmth and attentive kindness that you would expect from family. She grew up here in the Emerald City, will be a Senior this fall at Seattle Prep, and is hoping to stay on the West Coast for college.

When did you start at Teen Feed? What inspired you to volunteer with us?

I started in October of 2013.  I chose Teen Feed because I wanted to be connected to the people I was serving. The first day I volunteered, it struck me how there are people my age who have no homes, no food security, and no family to go to. For me it was mind blowing.  I realized that I live an incredibly privileged  life and that there is a huge universe of things outside the realm of my little life that needs attention.  This is my way of giving back.

What was your impression of Teen Feed when you started?

It was very welcoming!  Everyone made a great effort to show me that I was valued.  They were like “We are so excited that you’re here!”   It was relaxed enough that I could grow and change.

We love food here at Teen Feed. What did you eat today?

I had granola and yogurt for breakfast.  I haven’t had much.

How does volunteering at Teen Feed affect other parts of your life?

Teen Feed’s guests are out on the Ave, and I never used to notice them before.  They were invisible to me. Now I see them all the time.  As a volunteer, I get to know them, and I get to experience the incredible warmth, and sweetness, and smiles, and resilience of a lot of our guests.  I wish everyone could see this. You see something in another human being that you have never seen before!

What is your favorite meal you have at Teen Feed?

Sometimes I don’t eat at Teen Feed, because sharing a meal together is really important to my family.   I usually eat before I come, but last night I ate the spaghetti at Teen Feed, and it was really good.

What advice would you give to new volunteers?

Be yourself.  Let the guests see you for who you are. It’s about forming connections. Giving yourself to the experience.  And when you leave, don’t just leave the experience there, but bring it with you and let it affect you in a positive way.

Is there anything about your experience at Teen Feed that you want to tell me that you haven’t said already?

For me, it opens my eyes to a community that I didn’t know anything about before.  The way that people react to homeless youth is usually framed by stereotypes, and Teen Feed helps me break out of that. This has been really valuable experience for me, and if I had been at a different organization, I don’t know whether I would have learned this or not.

Thank you for your commitment to youth, Kit! To learn more about Teen Feed’s Advocate, Ally, and Meal Team volunteer programs, click here. To support Teen Feed’s work and the lives of homeless young people , click here.

Volunteer Spotlight: Jasmine Daniels

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Jasmine Daniels, a Force for Good!

We are so very excited to spotlight Jasmine this month. After spending most of her youth in Anchorage, Alaska, she came to Seattle in 2009 to study Psychology at the University of Washington. Jasmine is a Advocate Volunteer who provides positive connections for youth, gracing Teen Feed with her signature warmth and grounding calm on not one, but two nights in program each week. It is our privilege to introduce her to you!

When did you start at Teen Feed? What inspired you to volunteer with us?
I started this last February. I was interviewing therapists about career paths in psychology. One of those interviews was with Stacey Prince, who volunteers with a meal team in Auburn.  I wanted to do direct service, and I really wanted to be on the front lines, so she recommended Teen Feed.

What was your impression of Teen Feed when you started?
I didn’t know what to say to youth. I liked the idea of debriefs and the extra trainings we get to have to help us. Now it’s easier to talk to guests, and after taking the motivational interviewing class, I now have a process for following a guests lead for what they need and how to get there.

We love food here at Teen Feed. What did you eat today?
I’m trying to remember the name of the cereal….. I think it’s Barbara’s Puffins, and a yummy americano!

How does volunteering at Teen Feed affect other parts of your life?
It’s the only thing I do in the evening. It’s encourage me to to be more empathetic with strangers. It has personalized the issue of homelessness for me.

What is your favorite meal you have at Teen Feed?
Spaghetti, garlic bread, and salad. I also like the bean and cheese burritos!

What advice would you give to new volunteers?
I guess, don’t worry about having something to say. It’s better to not force your opinion on youth.

Is there anything about your experience at Teen Feed that you want to tell me that you haven’t said already?
I have never been so confronted about my privilege before. It’s interesting to think about. It’s not very comfortable, but it is really important.

Thank you for your commitment to youth, Jasmine! To learn more about Teen Feed’s Advocate, Ally, and Meal Team volunteer programs, click here. To support Teen Feed’s work and the lives of homeless young people , click here.

5 BIG Reasons to GiveBIG to Teen Feed!

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GIVEBIG DAY IS HERE! The gift you make in support of Teen Feed on May 6th, from midnight to midnight, will be MATCHED by Seattle Foundation’s generous donor pool, maximizing support for youth in need! CLICK HERE

Here are *5 BIG REASONS* to make a GiveBIG gift to Teen Feed and meet the immediate needs of homeless youth in our community:

5. TEEN FEED MEETS YOUTH WHERE THEY ARE AT
Teen Feed is the ONLY meal program designed to meet the unique needs of homeless and at-risk youth ages 13-25 in the University District, Auburn and Rainier Beach areas.

“I am so glad you are here. I have people who can support me here.” – a youth’s voice

4. YOUTH RELY ON TEEN FEED
In 2015, Teen Feed served 26,000 meals to 950 individual young people. In the last six months, we have already served. Youth trust and rely on Teen Feed’s meal and support services.

“If I didn’t have Teen Feed to come to, I don’t know where I’d be. I don’t know how I’d eat or get help.” – a youth’s voice

3. TEEN FEED PUTS YOUTH FIRST
Teen Feed is a low barrier program – we do not require an ID for entry. We welcome youth into our safe space and meet their immediate needs first – providing a warm meal and basic needs items like clothing, socks, toiletries, sleeping bags and more. Over the meal, we build connections to supportive resources.

“Teen Feed helps me take care of myself.” – a youth’s voice

2. WE OFFER A CARING COMMUNITY FOR YOUTH
Teen Feed works with 800+ volunteers to provide warm homemade meals on real plates with silverware (no plastic here!) and build positive relationships, rebuilding the trust that is lost through the experience of homelessness. Through volunteer service, stereotypes are challenged, understanding grows, and youth achieve stability.

” I feel like I have friends here and that means a lot when you have to deal with everything out there.” –  a youth’s voice

1. YOUR GIFT WILL BE USED WISELY
$0.90 of every dollar donated goes directly to programs for youth in need. Teen Feed receives no city, state, or federal funding for its meal programs. Our donors are truly our partners in providing a safety net for youth in need!

and as a BONUS, Your GiveBIG gift will be MATCHED providing more meals, support and connections for youth in need!GiveBIG-button

If you have any questions about GiveBIG or need assistance, Janine Kennedy, Teen Feed’s Director of Development and Communications is available to help at 206.409 1202 or janine@teenfeed.org.

THANK YOU for considering a GiveBIG gift to Teen Feed in support of homeless, at-risk, and food insecure youth and young adutls working hard for their futures! www.teenfeed.org

Open Position: SLY Support Coordinator

Teen Feed is looking for an experienced Support Coordinator to join our committed team to provide structured support to homeless and street-involved youth and young adults to help them make positive choices, address barriers to stability, and transition to a life off the streets.

Service Links for Youth (SLY) Support Coordinator Job Description

Essential Duties

Support Coordination (95%)

  • With minimal supervision, coordinate all aspects of Service Links for Youth (SLY) program and evaluate the program’s performance.
  • Maintain individual responsibility for the City of Seattle SLY contract including monthly invoicing, meeting stated contract goals, HMIS data entry and end-of-year reports. Maintain regular contact with the City’s contract monitor. Meet ongoing contractual and legal requirements; work with Executive Director to renew contract annually.
  • Maintain an active presence at Teen Feeds meal program three nights per week and at the ROOTS young adult shelter two nights per week. Serve as a resource and engage with homeless youth for enrollment in support coordination services.
  • Enroll youth in the SLY program per City of Seattle eligibility criteria. Explain the role of a Support Coordinator, Teen Feed’s grievance procedure, and expectations youth can have of the program. Focus on helping youth development self identified goals towards housing and self-sufficiency.
  • Serve as the primary staff for youth enrolled in SLY. Provide individual counseling and assistance in finding shelter and permanent housing, employment, educational opportunities, healthcare, and mental health/chemical dependency support. Offer support and resource to youth for achieving self identified goals.
  • Maintain a file for each enrolled youth including enrollment paperwork, documentation of important interactions, Safe Harbors HMIS tracking information, monthly file reviews, and procedures for closing and following up on closed files. Enter Safe Harbors data by the second Tuesday of each month.
  • Participate in trainings and become certified as an In-Person Assister through the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. Focus on healthcare enrollment, particularly in Expanded Medicaid, as a goal for all youth enrolled in SLY support coordination.
  • Maintain weekly contact with actively enrolled youth, follow-up on unstated needs, and offer support. Remain aware of resources and services for youth as they develop and change. Assume that the Support Coordinator may be the only connection to resources for youth.
  • Maintain statistics on the SLY program for use in monthly reports to the Executive Director and Board of Directors. Submit youth files to Executive Director for 90-day reviews. Contribute articles or program updates to the Development Director as needed.
  • Work with Street Talk Outreach Program (STOP) staff to maintain supplies and information for Teen Feed’s needle exchange program. Conduct needle exchange with youth in a safe, positive, and confidential manner, including while on outreach. Connect with youth that exchange to find opportunities to reduce harm.
  • Maintain partnerships with Street Youth Legal Advocates of Washington (SYLAW) of Washington. Coordinate drop-in schedules with SYLAW volunteers, update and maintain SYLAW binder as necessary, refer youth to SYLAW, and ensure community is aware of the resource.
  • Attend bimonthly clinical supervision, weekly supervision with the Executive Director, and all weekly staff and case staffing meetings. Attend monthly UDSPA service provider team meetings and semi-annual Teen Feed Board/Staff retreats.
  • Support peer Teen Feed Support Coordinators and cover Teen Feed and ROOTS when they cannot. Maintain frequent communication regarding use issues and questions that arise during program. Support the teen feed staff in carrying out their job, preventing burnout, helping with youth issues, and maintaining appropriate boundaries.

Community Outreach & Leadership (5%)

  • Represent Teen Feed at various outreach events, community meetings, advocacy opportunities, and donor events; share Teen Feed services and missions with the community.

Desired Skills & Attributes

  • Knowledge of social service systems and clinical issues pertinent to homeless youth.
  • Ability to partner effectively with diverse local service providers at their sites and demonstrate respect for all service providers’ philosophies and missions.
  • Demonstrate an initiative to learn and enhance skills that promote anti-racism, anti-oppression, cultural competency and an understanding of oppression and its impact.
  • Ability to empathize with homeless youth and on some level to relate with their unique experiences.
  • Knowledge of private and public health insurance options available in Washington State, particularly Medicaid.
  • Clear understanding of appropriate professional boundaries when working with youth.
  • Ability to perform all services in a culturally respectful manner, honoring homeless and street-involved young people as valued individuals.
  • Ability to use language and behavior that demonstrates a basic respect for the dignity and value of those served, as well as coworkers and colleagues.
  • Knowledge and ability to use us harm reduction model in providing all services.
  • Ability to take initiative and be self-motivated, working with minimal supervision.
  • Excellent communication, organizational, and interpersonal skills.
  • Ability to follow all agency policies including, but not limited to, Teen Feed & NASW code of ethics, confidentiality, and personnel policies, including keeping private any privileged information relating to other employees or those served.
  • Commitment to youth empowerment.
  • Sense of humor.

Qualifications

  • MSW or other graduate degree in social sciences or a related field; or six years of direct social service experience.
  • One year of experience with homeless or at-risk youth and young adults.
  • Demonstrated ability to work well with diverse populations, including youth of color and LGBTQ youth.
  • Physically able to travel long distances, tolerate extreme weather conditions, and carry up to 30lbs; ability to work routine evening shifts and occasional weekends.
  • Preference for bilingual or multilingual candidates.

Interested candidates should send an email to Teen Feed’s Executive Director Tabitha Jensen at tabitha@teenfeed.org with a current resume and either a cover letter or email message explaining why you are interested in working with Teen Feed. No phone calls, please.

TEEN FEED IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER

Volunteer Spotlight: Hana Alicic

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Hana Alicic Gives Everything She’s Got

Hana is an absolutely incredible young woman. To be honest, we’re shocked we haven’t featured here already! She’s one of the busiest volunteers we’ve ever met, and one of the most dedicated. Along with wrapping up her undergraduate degree in Public Health and Statistics at UW, she works as a statistician and has a huge array of volunteer commitments. She volunteers at the 45th Street Clinic and the United Way Tax Campaign, she’s running a listening campaign at Tent City with Health Equity Circle, she does needs-focused health education with homeless adults through an organization called Education Transforming Community Health as well as outreach and education with pre-med students, and she advises the student-run UW co-op. On top of all of that she comes to Teen Feed once a week, providing a presence that can switch from playful to deeply grounded depending on guests’ needs. Oh, and she has fun too! We’re thrilled to introduce her to you.

When did you start volunteering at Teen Feed? What inspired that?

I started volunteering at Teen Feed in the spring of 2011. When I was in high school I was interested in gay rights. I was raised in a conservative household and went to a conservative school and my feelings about the importance of gay rights wasn’t  very popular. When I came to Seattle in the fall of 2010 I wanted to be more involved in what I believe in. I found out about Lifelong AIDS Alliance and started volunteering in their thrift store. I found out about Empowerment (their young adults outreach program) and got involved there too. At an outreach event for Empowerment we tabled at Teen Feed and I was hooked – I started volunteering at Teen Feed shortly thereafter.

What was your impression of Teen Feed when you started?

I thought the whole concept of Teen Feed was really fascinating – you just sit with people and talk with them! I had always thought of myself as awkward and had never really been good at having random conversations with people. At first it took a lot of getting over myself and just knowing that people aren’t going to judge me for sitting down to talk – just being open to whatever happens. When I actually started talking to guests and hearing about their experiences it really affected my perspective It’s so different to read about something in class or read about it on the news than to actually talk with someone who’s experiencing it, whether that’s the affects of race, or not having privilege, or being queer, or homelessness in general. I credit Teen Feed with changing my life – race, privilege, and other deep complex conversations about social justice just weren’t at the forefront of my consciousness before I started at Teen Feed like they are now.

All of these issues get super-politicized and people really detach themselves from social justice issues. But when you actually talk with people who are experiencing the negative things that get brought up it’s completely different than what’s publicized. Especially having a 1:1 conversation, not just listening to someone talk but actually engaging with them – it’s very profound. I feel like at Teen Feed it’s important for us to be there for guests and to learn about their lives and listen to them but it’s also really impactful for the people who volunteer.

We love food here at Teen Feed. What did you eat today?

I ate couscous with chicken and carrots. The way I made it was really ridiculous. I just put the couscous and chicken and carrots together and let it marinate overnight. Don’t worry, the chicken was cooked already! I eat really weird stuff because I have NO time so I tell myself “this counts as food!” pretty frequently.

What’s your favorite thing about volunteering at Teen Feed?

I really love when I sit down with a guest for the first time and they’re not into me. I try to make conversation and they’re not really interested and that’s fine. But I keep trying and I keep sitting with them and I keep showing I care and occasionally try to open a conversation again. Over a few weeks some people will open up to and that’s such a rewarding experience to have. That’s rewarding in any context, but especially at Teen Feed because people, understandably, have a lot of barriers to trusting others. It’s nice to know that someone feels like they can eventually open up to you. I’m not pushy, but I try to show that I’m a safe adult.

How does volunteering at Teen Feed affect other parts of your life?

It’s funny – Teen Feed comes up in everyday conversations with people all the time. For example, I was in a conversation about drug use the other day. We were talking about Philip Seymour Hoffman and someone said it’s his own fault that he died. So I brought up drug abuse and mentioned how through my experiences at Teen Feed I’ve seen that a lot of people ultimately for many reasons feel the need to self-medicate because their situation is so terrible and they’re surrounded by people who are using. If your entire friend group is doing something it’s pretty natural for someone to adopt the same behavior. I talked about how addiction needs to be understood as a disease and it’s less about a “choice” at a certain point.

I didn’t even really notice how much Teen Feed was changing me until I started having these external conversations with people about issues I’ve seen at Teen Feed and I realized I didn’t think these things before Teen Feed. It was new. And it wasn’t an active “oh you’re going to switch your opinion on this” it just slowly evolved and changed my entire life – it gave me a paradigm shift, I guess.

What’s a favorite meal you’ve been served at Teen Feed?

Mambo Combo! Their cobblers are amazing. The cobbler portions are huge and it’s so delicious. I guess that’s not an entire meal but hey, I could make a whole meal out of that cobbler. Rick makes a different flavor every month … it’s so good. They’re a cool meal team.

What advice would you give to new volunteers?

I really like that at Teen Feed you can’t be full of shit. Guests can see that in a second. You can’t sit down and be unreal or voyeuristic – you have to actually be a real person and actually show that you care and actually show that you can relate to them and have real interests. That’s a good skill to have for life – in general, when you’re talking to anyone. Everyone hates it when others are condescending so you have to show that you’re a real human being and have to talk on a normal level. If you put up a guard you can’t expect someone else to take down their guard. Also, expect to be tested at first. People will tease you a little at first and you have to roll with it. Don’t let people bully you but there’s also a reason people test others – they’ve had others fail them a lot. They want to know if you’re going to freak out, if you’re going to be around next week, all of that. You have to respect people and they’ll respect you. Respect doesn’t automatically come – you have to earn it.

Is there anything about your experience at TF that you want to tell me that you haven’t said already?

Here’s a cheesy little tidbit. Teen Feed has been good for me in terms of bringing my ego down. I am not that special. I can’t go in and tell people how to live their lives and what they need to do differently but that doesn’t mean that I can’t help someone just by talking with them and showing that I empathize with them. Just that small thing has other positive effects. I can’t go into things expecting to be this crazy life-changing influence on everyone’s life. That’s totally unrealistic. It’s not about setting low expectations, it’s acknowledging that you can’t change people but you can support them. And that support? It’s incredibly, incredibly valuable.

Hana, the value of your volunteerism is beyond words. To learn more about Teen Feed’s Advocate, Ally, and Meal Team volunteer programs, click here. To support Teen Feed’s work and the lives of homeless young people , click here.

A New Year: New Beginnings for Youth

Green in wallEvery day, over the Teen Feed meal, young people begin to take steps towards of safety, stability and happiness. Every warm meal, every positive choice made, every goal achieved brings remarkable young people closer to the life they envision for themselves. It is our privilege to work with you to meet the basic needs of homeless and at-risk young people, so they can focus on making the future they dream of a reality.

Youth Voices: My wish for the New Year is…

  • to know all my friends and family and case managers are safe for the holidays.
  • to obtain housing and find a cure for AIDS.
  • to not be broke.
  • to end homelessness.
  • to have a healthy baby.
  • to love myself and be content.
  • to have a phone that works.
  • to have housing.
  • to get a job where I can use my brain at work.
  • to not be homeless.
  • to have fun.
  • to have anything!
  • to have new experiences.
  • to be clean from heroin.
  • to be at peace.
  • to have custody of my child.
  • to have warm shoes.
  • for everyone to get what they wanted for the holidays.
  • to have stability.
  • to get a job.
  • for my son to have a good Christmas.
  • to see my sister and family again.
  • to have a house or a job.
  • to have true peace.
  • to have housing or a tent.
  • to have new shoes.
  • to see my sister graduate High School back home.
  • to see more of my family.
  • to have housing.
  • to be loved.
  • to go back to school and do graphic arts.
  • to get off the streets.
  • to quit smoking cigarettes.
  • to get a stable income and off the streets.
  • to be able to have control over my habits.
  • to have my son back in my life.
  • to move to a new state with a job, and have it guaranteed.
  • to have healthy relationships, a great home for my daughter, and success with a job.
  • to end my stage being homeless and become more comfortable.
  • to have new shoes and a gingerbread house.
  • to have a puppy.
  • that Hatlo still works at Teen Feed.
  • to acquire stable housing.
  • to have my own place to live.
  • to get into school.
  • to get a job and a place to stay.
  • to quit smoking and have a better job!
  • to see my family.
  • to make progress, and education, and get my $$$ up!
  • to be enrolled in school.
  • to start over now and be successful.
  • to be independent.
  • to stay off the streets.
  • to get into housing.
  • to be in my own apartment.
  • to have a healthy baby.
  • to be able to make money.
  • to have a home.
  • to make progress.
  • to get into housing.

Help young people as they make their futures off the streets a reality. Click here to make a 100% tax-deductible gift today! For more information, please reach Suzanne Sullivan, Director of Development and Communications at suzanne@teenfeed.org or 206.949.1092. Teen Feed is a not-for-profit organization, Tax ID #94-3034862.

Volunteer Spotlight: Debbie Jae

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Debbie Jae an Advocate by Nature

Last April Debbie was looking for a way to help out in her community. With several teens at home, Teen Feed felt like a natural choice. Since volunteering at Teen Feed, Debbie has begun working for herself as a medical communicator (www.afriendandadvocate.com). Debbie found that because of her medical background and her reassuring and supportive personality, helping people get the most out of difficult doctor appointments and communicate clearly with their physicians, was a natural and rewarding career move. We are absolutely thrilled that Debbie has combined her love for raising her own teens at home and her naturally supportive personality to become an outstanding Monday advocate volunteer with Teen Feed. Debbie you are a natural choice for our volunteer spotlight.

How long have you been volunteering with Teen Feed?

I started in April so just over seven months.

Why/ how did you get involved with Teen Feed?

I had some free time after my job ended. I started looking around for some place to help out in the community. I have some teens at home so I thought Teen Feed would be a great match. While I am raising my own teens I could help out some other teens as well.

What is your favorite thing about volunteering at Teen Feed?

Definitely sitting down and talking with teens and hearing about how their day has been. Especially hearing about when their day went well. I think it is really helpful just to have somebody ask about your day and listen. And it is really great to see the same people week after week and build a relationship.

What do you like to do outside of Teen Feed?

Anything with my kids and my partner. Any kind of family event. And after that kayaking. I am also starting a patient advocacy business so that takes up a lot of my time.

What did you eat today?

Cereal and a cup of tea. And now a hot chocolate, thanks Teen Feed.

What have you learned from volunteering at Teen Feed?

That people are people regardless of where they are in life. We all have the same needs and desires and anybody can wind up in a tough situation. And it is great that there are organizations offering support to people that need it.

Debbie, your good nature helps youth grow at Teen Feed. To learn more about Teen Feed’s Advocate, Ally, and Meal Team volunteer programs, click here. To support Teen Feed’s work and the lives of homeless young people , click here.

Christmas Day for Youth with Tom Douglas Crew!

It’s a little quiet at Teen Feed on Christmas Day. The typically loud chatter of young people gives way to gentle conversations as youth reflect on the holiday. They talk with volunteers and celebrate the holiday with people who care for them. And they enjoy an extra special Christmas dinner. Nate Crave is cooking.

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A Chef for Tom Douglas restaurants, Nate has been preparing and serving delicious meals for youth at Teen Feed since 2010. Every year, Nate and his crew of colleagues and friends come together to create a special meal for youth on Christmas day. A thoughtfully prepared feast of chicken roulade, creamy mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables and delicious desserts provided a warm holiday meal for almost 40 young people at Teen Feed. Thank you to Nate and everyone who helped provide a warm meal and warm company for youth on Christmas Day.

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