Community Voices-Audra O’Connell/Walker’s Point Youth & Family Center
Community Voices |
Audra O'Connell/Walker’s Point Youth & Family Center
What excites you about On The Table MKE?
On The Table is such an exciting way to convene an entire region (politicians, community leaders, nonprofit organizations, businesses, and neighbors) to come together and have meaningful, purposeful dialogue about things that matter to all of us. Maybe it's about racial inequality, environmental concerns, how to make your child's school more effective, in our case, youth homelessness, or something as simple as a neighborhood coming together to discuss what is going on within it; it's deliberate and opens the floodgates to people more openly and effectively communicating with each other. Also, think of all the brain power that will go into On the Table; the ideas that may come out, the connections made, the collaborations began. It's rather exciting.
How do you think On the Table can benefit your organization, and what topic do you plan on bringing to the table?
I believe it will benefit Walker's Point Youth & Family Center because any time we can raise awareness about youth homelessness, any time we can gather people together to talk and discuss and brainstorm; any time one more person learns about the work we do, it has a potential to help youth in need. These are people who at some point may have a chance to share what we do with a youth or family in need of our services and they'll be able to connect them to us.
We will be discussing youth homelessness in Milwaukee--data, challenges, services we provide, etc.
For those who don’t know, can you share a bit about Walker's Point Youth & Family Center and its mission?
Walker's Point Youth & Family Center provides emergency shelter for 11-17 year olds, housing for 18-24 year olds (single young adults and those with children), as well as homeless prevention services by way of our Nurturing family groups, school-based groups for adolescents, and non-residential therapy. All of our services are free of charge and confidential.
We envision a Milwaukee without youth homelessness. A community in which we help support families during the challenging phase of raising young adults. A place for youth to feel safe and secure to be whom they are, without judgment.
What is a project that you’re currently working on?
In May, we added 40 additional Rapid Rehousing projects (two year housing for young adults ages 18-24 and their families). We believe this will help to fill a gap in our community for homeless youth and we diligently are working to fill those spots and start serving even more young adults.