There are many young people who need help from Covenant House Pennsylvania, but they may not know of us. Our street outreach team are our on-the-ground staff members who walk the streets 4 or 5 days a week, to whereever our homeless young people reside, to offer them emergency resources - food, drink, blankets - and raise our profile with street youth.
However, we often meet youth who aren't ready to leave their current situation to go somewhere new and unfamiliar. The aim of street outreach is to build trust with the young person in case they, or someone they know, needs support from Covenant House Pennsylvania now or in future. There are Street Outreach teams in both Philadelphia and York, PA.
Our Residential programs consist of our 76-bed Crisis Shelter and our 20-bed Transitional Living Program, Rights of Passage. Youth begin their stay with us at our Crisis Shelter where they formulate a plan to achieve stability and independence.
Then, when they find employment and save some money they can apply to move to Rights of Passage. Here, youth live independently, sharing an apartment with a roommate. At Rights of Passage youth focus on developing life skills, continuing their education, finding a better job, and saving the money needed to live on their own.
As you can imagine, life on the street can be very harmful to young people, and because they move around so much it is difficult for them to access medical care. To address this need, we operate an on-site clinic in collaboration with The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).
Our clinic - led by Dr. Kenneth R. Ginsburg, MD, MSEd, a nationally-recognized expert in serving adolescents - offers free medical care to every youth we serve. It provides physical health services including examinations, treatment and referrals, psychological assessments, case management, and drug and alcohol counseling.
Covenant House Pennsylvania provides a full educational assessment to each youth we serve. This assessment helps a young person determine whether to seek vocational training, pursue high school or GED classes, or attend college. Once the assessment is complete, staff and youth work together to complete any referral forms and follow up with agencies. Covenant House Pennsylvania is well connected and collaborates with various educational and vocational programs throughout the Philadelphia area.
Covenant House Pennsylvania provides a vocational assessment to help each youth determine their experience and qualifications and identify employment that interests them. The assessment also includes an activity called Life Maps, which maps life experiences and goals. Each youth participates in a job readiness class called Covenant House Orientation in Career Enhancement Skills (CHOICES). CHOICES is a weeklong class that provides youth with job and career information and training in how to create resumes, job search, perform at interviews, and other support they need to obtain and sustain a job.
The Pastoral Ministry supports both youth and staff. The Pastoral Ministry provides outlets for expression of faith through art, prayer services, and overnight retreats. Because we welcome youth without restriction, Pastoral Ministry services are strictly voluntary and support only those youth who express interest in faith and spirituality. We support youth, whatever their beliefs.