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  • Briana Wasil

Spread a Little Love

By: Briana Wasil, Contributor

Alongside the spirit of Valentine's Day, the New Buffalo Institute hosted a Mission Monday event inviting students around campus to come down to the commuter lounge to decorate cards and bags. The bags were filled with personal hygiene products, such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash and soap for the community. Students were then asked to write a card filled with affirmations for the youth. Although they did not have to be Valentine’s Day related, the value of these notes would serve to boost the mentality and spirits of those who would  receive these care packages. 

Compass House was originally founded in 1972 as a homeless shelter. Today, it includes a wide array of services that work to “provide runaway, homeless and street youth [ages 12-24] with safe shelter and services, through a voluntary and mutually agreed-upon process, in an environment that supports dignity, respect and self-reliance,” according to their website. Such services are their Emergency Shelter, Resource Center, Rapid Re-Housing program, Transitional Independent Living Program and Safe Place Program. 

The Safe Place Program was designed to allow youth to receive the help they need at nearby locations, like Tops Markets and GLYS Drop-in Center, as well as NFTA buses that would then direct them to Compass House. If an individual requires immediate assistance, the program offers a phone number that will give them the chance to provide their location, which will then locate the closest Safe Place near them. Here, they will be able to stay at emergency shelters that provide temporary housing with trained professionals 24/7, along with their resource center that supplies non-residential support. Another one of the supports they offer is the Transitional Independent Living Program: this program guides ages 18-24 to learn about money management, job processes, finding apartments and communicating with landlords. Aid with identification documents is also available to help them become self-sufficient in everyday skills. 

The mission and support that Compass House provides to young adolescents is critical to helping them overcome barriers and obstacles they have faced. By getting involved with this organization and participating in similar projects, you have the privilege to make a person feel like they are strong enough to fight for themselves, knowing they might have never had a person who was willing to show them their worth.

Compass Houses’ next upcoming event on their site is on Feb. 24, the “Coldest Night of the Year” event, which is a walk with friends or family in support of local charities that advocate alongside Compass House. They also list a plethora of other ways to get involved, whether it is through employment, donations of clothing and supplies, volunteering or internships! Be sure to keep an eye out for other events that center around supporting the communities, because we all could use a little love.

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