Youth Resource Center

Morgan Cutt, Reporter

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Life in Park City is pretty good. We live in a beautiful town and attend a prestigious school. A  stroll through Park City consists of athletes training, students working, or tourists shopping. Our town gives off a clean and happy vibe, but not everyone is this lucky.

 

Just thirty minutes away from our small town is Salt Lake City. Salt Lake is a great place, but as you walk through the streets, there is a slightly different vibe. It is a buzzing and vibrant city, but there is one issue they are struggling to address: the homelessness in the city.

 

In the United States, over two million teenagers will go through a period of homelessness. Surprisingly, Utah has a large population of homeless youth, and the majority of this population is concentrated in Salt Lake City.

 

Fortunately, Salt Lake City makes an effort to help youth experiencing homelessness with the Youth Resource Center (YRC). Through Volunteers of America, the YRC helps over 800 teens ages fifteen to twenty-two get off the streets and onto their feet.

 

The YRC opened a new facility on May 24, 2016. Due to the growing population of teens experiencing homelessness, the original YRC in Salt Lake, opened ten years ago, was deemed too small. Moving from the previous location on State Street, the new facility, located on 888 400 West, is 20,000 square feet and six times bigger than the previous location.

 

The new building offers more services, including free legal service, education assistance, job training, drug intervention, and counseling, providing the teens with opportunities they may not have otherwise.

 

Sophomore Courtney Solomon and her mother, Kathryn Solomon, are frequent volunteers at the YRC. Volunteering once or twice a month, the mother-daughter team  prepare and serve homemade meals to the youth.

 

The Solomons got involved last year when they learned about the new YRC and the large number of teens without consistent homes in Salt Lake. Both had previously been involved in other philanthropic organizations, but Mrs. Solomon explained she was drawn to the YRC because she enjoys “philanthropy that is hands on and impactful,” and her daughter is following her lead.

 

The YRC also provides three meals a day and fifty cots a night to satisfy essential needs. Everything provided helps work toward the goal of “making the youth a productive part of society,” Mrs. Solomon states, and “providing a safe place for them to go.”

 

The majority of funds for the new YRC came from private donors, and today, the center still relies on donations and volunteers to keep the it running. Volunteer work here is “point of contact impactful,” Mrs. Solomon said, because “you are there to see their thanks and make connections.”

 

Ms. Solomon shared her favorite part is seeing the direct impact she has on the kids. “I feel like some of them don’t have the best environment, and when they get dinners, especially from us, because we make really good dinners, they know someone cares and I feel like that makes a difference.”

 

After volunteering at the YRC so frequently, some of the kids have opened up to the Solomon’s.

 

“Every story is different,” Mrs. Solomon explains, “most of them are good kids who got a bad deal.”

 

Encouraging others to volunteer, Mrs. Solomon shares that every person is “a tiny piece of the puzzle”, and the sacrifices made to volunteer “provide a little bit of hope for the youth.”

 

No matter how the teens end up at the center, the YRC starts them on a path of self-sufficiency so they can eventually afford to live on their own.

 

If you want to help, look on the Salt Lake City Youth Resource Center website to find volunteer opportunities! https://www.voaut.org/homeless-teen-services