Over the past year, there have been multiple forums – and lots of discussions – about how to help homeless teens in the Snoqualmie Valley. Recently this initiative received some really great news.
In early October, King County Executive Dow Constantine launched the newest Best Starts for Kids initiative, “one that will provide young people with the opportunities and tools they need to weather challenges during adolescence and be ready to flourish as adults.”
The Youth Development Initiative – a partnership between King County and 32 nonprofit organizations – will provide leadership opportunities, mentoring, and other services that help young people create the safe, healthy relationships they need to achieve their full potential.
One of those 32 organizations is local nonprofit The Trail Youth, which is going to partner with young people experiencing homelessness in the Snoqualmie Valley to build a youth coffeehouse. Currently, Trail Youth brings coffee drinks out on the Snoqualmie Valley Trail each Tuesday in an effort to reach homeless teens.
Trail Youth Program Coordinator Tonya Guinn said the group is very excited to make their dream come true: opening a coffee shop to serve as a permanent, safe place for their mentoring program, which is designed to help homeless and at-risk youth in the Snoqualmie Valley.
With the Best Starts for Kids grant funding Trail Youth is hoping to transform Rosie’s Barber Shop near Scott’s Dairy Freeze in North Bend into the coffeehouse, and are currently in negotiations to lease the spot that needs a lot of renovating.
Tonya said the grant doesn’t fund until mid January, so they are actively fundraising in order to secure the space and start remodeling. Currently they’re searching for a plumber and electrician to get work underway.
The coffeehouse will be a safe place for at-risk young people to connect with opportunities and services. Trail Youth also plans to offer a mentoring program to build connections between the kids and their communities, with the goal of empowering them to lead successful lives.
In total, the Best Start for Kids grant program is providing $12.2 million to these 32 organizations. King County received 171 applications for the Youth Development Initiative, which is one of several initiatives funded by the voter-approved Best Starts for Kids levy.
You can read KIRO Radio article on The Trail Youth HERE.