Our Impact is a series of articles highlighting stories from our recent annual report in which we share some of the ways we've invested in our communities over our last fiscal year. We hope you find inspiration in these stories of needs met, people helped, organizations supported, and lives changed.
Help & Hope for Homeless Teens
I have lived at Teen Share for over two months. Teen Share has helped me gain confidence and learn to be independent. I am grateful that there is this program. Without it, the homeless teen [population] would struggle. It has been a fun experience helping pick out items for teen share, and it is nice to make it more of a home environment. It is comforting that they take pride in the houses, and I am excited to be part of this new project and help where I can.
— Teen Share Resident
Teen SHARE (Student Housing and Resource Exchange) is a homeless shelter and program for teenagers in Branch County and the surrounding areas that has served as a haven for homeless teens since 1996. It is a program of the Branch County Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.
Teen Share provides housing for twelve in two ranch-style homes that accommodate six teens each. Boys and girls live in separate houses and come together for group counseling. Each teen undergoes individual assessment before being accepted into the program to ensure that the services offered meet their needs.
BCCF’s Youth Advisory Council (YAC) awarded Teen Share funding to upgrade the living spaces, provide engaging activities, and help teens develop life skills.
Interior improvements included new smart televisions in both houses, wall art, game tables, lamps, bedding, and dishes. Outdoor improvements include patio tables and chairs, basketball hoops, flower boxes, bird feeders, and a hammock. The much-needed improvements transformed the living space into a place that feels like a home instead of a shelter.
The improved, more-welcoming aesthetics inspire a sense of normalcy at the facilities and help teens in the program take pride in their living space.
Read more about the impact we're making in Branch County and Colon in our 2022 Annual Report and see what your donation dollars can achieve when you partner with the Branch County Community Foundation.