DREAMCATCHER YOUTH SERVICES
A program of Covenant House California
Vision statement: Providing safety so at-risk youth can create a future
Since 2000, DreamCatcher Youth Services has been the only safe landing for homeless and trafficked at-risk youth in Alameda County who are between the ages of 13-18.
In Alameda County, estimates range from 1,500 to 3,000 of the number of people ages 13-18 who are homeless or unstably housed. DreamCatcher’s comprehensive constellation of programs is designed to serve these youth by connecting them to stable housing, consistent resources, community and peer supports. Over 90% of youth have been through DreamCatcher have moved directly into stable housing, further education or employment.
At DreamCatcher, we believe that basic needs must be met for the work of healing to begin. We are trauma-informed, youth-positive, and strength-based, using a low barrier, harm reduction model. We understand that a core need of all youth is for connection and from the first point of contact, building a trustworthy relationship is our focus.
Our youth exit to greater safety and go on to futures they didn’t have the energy to imagine when they first came to us. Over a third of our staff are graduates of our program who returned as adults wanting to give back for all they received, for the ways their lives changed.
* Meal prep
* Donation organization and processing
* Basic maintenance and upkeep
* Beautification projects
* Job preparation support
* Lead a life skills workshop – financial literacy, cooking, self-care, etc.
* Lead a group activity – art, music, yoga, dance, creative writing, etc.
* Hang out, play board games, do puzzles, throw a warriors or raider’s party, host an ice cream social, give makeovers or haircuts or host a holiday celebration!
DreamCatcher’s short-term, emergency shelter feels quiet and homelike. Here, DreamCatcher provides for each young person’s basic needs in a safe and relaxed environment. They receive meals, take showers with new hygiene products, receive new clothes and a warm bed to sleep in. Programming and activities are youth-driven and the environment is accepting and lowkey. This shelter is a place for youth to rest, catch their breath, and work with staff to determine their next steps.
YOUTH WELLNESS CENTER
DreamCatcher’s Youth Wellness Center is open daily and provides young people with a safe place to hang out until they are allowed to return to the couch where they are staying. Others come to hide from domestic fights between the adults in their lives.
Youth Wellness Center staff provide life skills training and counseling through individual, group and family sessions. With the support of staff, youth create safety plans and learn how to make good decisions to increase their feelings of well-being, security and self-esteem. Older youth request help finding a job and filling out applications. All youth receive assistance with legal issues and finding a safe place to live.
All youth are given free hygiene products, basic clothing, and school supplies. Laundry and shower faciliites are available, snacks are provided and dinner is served daily thanks to volunteer support.
NIKA’S PLACE & GIRLS LOUNGE
Over 80% of all girls who are commercially sexually exploited and trafficked were homeless when the exploiter found them. Nika’s Place, is a program designated for girls escaping commercial sexual exploitation, and the Girls Lounge, is a drop-in program offering services and resources to girls escaping street exploitation, violence and abuse. Services in both programs are gender-specific and geared toward offering the empowerment and support needed to break from street life and danger and create a future.
THE DREAM CLINIC
The Dream Clinic is a collaboration with the Roots Community Clinic where youth can receive immediate primary medical care without leaving the DreamCatcher campus. Additionally, staff can assist youth as they enroll in programs such as Medi-Cal that will ensure they can receive care wherever they may be in California.