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Friday, 28 February 2014 08:13

Don’t Drop Out – Drop In!

SOS Youth Outreach Drop-In Center Provides Services For Young Adults In Need

SARATOGA SPRINGS— The Shelters of Saratoga (SOS) Youth Outreach Drop-in Center at 20 Walworth Street is completing its fourth month of operation and is making an impact in a variety of ways.  

 

The Drop-in Center, which is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., serves an important demographic: young adults, ages 16 to 21. The services provided are diverse and can make a difference on both the quality of a young person’s day-to-day life as well as providing increased potential for their futures. 

On any given day, the clients and their individual needs determine the services provided. As SOS Youth Outreach Coordinator and Case Manager Crystal Swinton puts it:

 

“You never know what the flavor of the day will be.” 

 

But the Drop-in Center appears quite ready for anything.

 

A new client, or first-time visitor might be very surprised by the array of services available here. The basic necessities we often take for granted, such as a shower or laundry facility with materials provided, or a healthy lunch or snack is always available (provided weekly from Sweet Mimi’s Café on Phila Street. Two volunteers from St. Peters youth group coordinate this: Tori Los and Max Liebers.) 

 

But a client can also get educational help or job search guidance including resume writing assistance, all designed to improve a client’s work readiness. Those without a physical address can utilize the SOS P.O. Box. A computer and printer are available with Internet access. Once a week, Siobahn A’Hearn, a nutrition program educator from Cornell Cooperative Extension’s “Eat Smart New York” program is in-house to provide nourishment guidance and techniques. Public health nurses visit regularly also. 

 

“The small group of volunteers we have are extremely resourceful,” Ms. Swinton notes, “We are fortunate to have most everything we need.” Although, she notes that there is an ongoing need for bottled water (should someone wish to drop off a case or two during the week, please note that it should be clearly marked for the youth drop-in center so it gets to the right destination.) Ms. Swinton cited one need for consistent transportation down to the CAPTAIN Youth and Family Center in Clifton Park twice a week so that clients could take advantage of CAPTAIN’s high school diploma equivalency programs. 

 

There are also outreach activities to stimulate the mind and body, said Ms. Swinton, such as a recent rock-climbing trip, with other off-site activities planned as the weather brightens. 

 

But it is obvious that there is never a day with anything less than a warm and sunny atmosphere, combined with several rays of hope, on any day one visits the Youth Drop-In Center. Crystal Swinton, her volunteers and the SOS staff make sure of that. 

 

 

To learn more about the services at the SOS Youth Drop-in Center, contact Crystal Swinton at (518) 321-8239.

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