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Warming House and Haven join forces to support local youth during pandemic difficulties

With diminished participation through the pandemic, and an issue to copy a youth center online, The Warming House seemed destined to be an abandoned constructing next to Howard Park in Wilmette.

The doors closed in 2020, and with the specter of discontinued funding from Recent Trier Township, the Warming House joined forces with Haven Youth and Family Services within the youth center. The doors reopened as Haven’s Warming House in July of 2023.

Because the merger, Grace McManus has served because the drop-in manager of the power. In preparation for a youth leadership meeting, while preparing pasta for users, McManus explained her role, saying she works on daily basis from 3:30-7 p.m. helping the local children who stop by. McManus also assists within the programming.

“We connect with local agencies and schools to make connections with educators and social employees whose students could use additional support, clinical through Haven’s counseling services or non-clinical through Haven’s Warming House,” she said. “I’m all the time planning Warming House activities, our monthly excursions, and our monthly volunteer/community services projects.”

Open from 3:30-6:30 p.m. Mondays-Fridays for sixth- to Twelfth-graders, the power welcomes not less than a handful of youth to participate every day; nevertheless, the present priority of the Warming House remains to be to extend attendance and proceed reaching latest levels of success as a substance-free and parent-free environment for teens.

“I don’t know of another secure space for teens around here that’s each free and fun,” McManus said. “We have now a ping pong table, pool table, a TV and kitchen, we’re next to an outside space for a lot of sports, and on top of that we’re fortunate to have a budget for extra excursions, supplies and snacks that the teenagers enjoy.

“It’s very special to have access to a secure environment that’s not under a parent’s roof but remains to be secure and reliable. While I’m ‘in charge’ and I plan activities every other day, it’s the teenagers’ space and we’re all collaborators here.”

Arin Jain is the president of the Warming House’s Youth Leadership Board. He recently secured the position within the board’s first election because the shutdown.

Jain was a Warming House participant before the pandemic and returned when it reopened. He said he’s worked with the organization’s leaders to set it up for achievement.

“After the shutdown, the chief director of Haven reached out to me, and each Wednesday through the summer last yr I’d meet with the chief director and we might discuss the longer term of the Warming House,” Jain said. “Haven really wanted the input from actual kids who used the Warming House.”

Flyer for the Warming House’s upcoming 5K fundraiser

Haven Youth and Family Services is hosting its second 5K fundraiser on May 5, and the Warming Home is having its second annual bowling fundraiser on May 18.

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