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Wind Summer Soiree – July 27

We all have a cause about which we are passionate; one that is truly near and dear to our hearts.

Wind Youth Services is an unabashedly pro-youth agency in the Sacramento County that continues to grow with new developments as we position ourselves as innovators within the homeless services community. As a nonprofit dedicated to providing programs that offer tools and resources to help teens develop vital skills to break the cycle of homelessness, we are a group of passionate advocates for the young people with whom we work and depend on the generous donations of our community to continue to make changing strides.

This year, Wind will be moving into a new Youth Center at 815 S Street in Midtown, Sacramento, so we are hosting the Soiree onsite at the new location so everyone can get a sneak peek.  It should be a fabulous evening featuring delicious food along with local wines, beers and artisan spirits.

We invite you to join us for our annual Summer Soiree on Friday, July 27, 2018 from 6:00pm – 10:00pm as we raise funds to provide services for Sacramento’s youth experiencing homelessness. The Summer Soiree is currently the single largest, annual fundraising effort that Wind undertakes. Last year, we hosted 250 guests, and we plan to do the same this year as we feature Sacramento’s diverse cuisine, local wines, beers and artisanal spirits to benefit our growing youth population.

Thank you to our sponsors for allowing us to present this event! Click here for photos of last year’s fun!

Big Day of Giving 2018

Sleeping bags are for camping trips and sleep-overs, not for living.

Every night in Sacramento, more than 400 children and young people do not sleep in a bed, but rather find refuge on a park bench, under a freeway or on a doorstep. Wind Youth Services provides food, shelter and lodging for as many of these homeless youth as we can.

Please consider a gift to Wind Youth Services this Thursday, May 3 for Sacramento’s Big Day of Giving. Beginning at 12:01am on May 3 and running through midnight, supporters can make an online donation to Wind, then encourage their social media networks to give – and share why you chose Wind Youth Services for a donation.

Big Day of Giving is a movement to celebrate and provide incentives to give—in the Sacramento community, in particular. This effort harnesses the collective power of a unique blend of partners—nonprofits, businesses and corporations as well as families and individuals—to transform how people think about, talk about and participate in giving.

Inspired by our mission – to provide supportive services and opportunities to youth experiencing homelessness as they pursue self-determined lives of stability and independence – Wind Youth Services will be raising funds to change the lives of children, teens, and young adults (ages 12-24) who are in crisis, on the street and without a safe place to call home.

Last year, the Sacramento community generously donated nearly $30,000 to Wind and it is our hope that we can top the $30,000 mark this year. Please join us!

Wind Spring Appeal





Dear Wind Supporter,

“I was probably 8 or 9 years old when I first remember hearing the angry voices of my parents; and the violence. It wasn’t unusual, I got used to it after a while and eventually my Dad left.  My Mom introduced my brother and me to needles when we were in junior high and we started using drugs and as a result became homeless,” says Jacob.

When you arrive in a city you figure out where you can stay, and we heard about the Wind Center before we came to Sacramento. So as soon as we got off the bus here, we went to Wind. It was the first time we felt safe at a homeless center. And honestly, Wind saved our lives,” says Daniel.“We have traveled around California, staying at different homeless shelters. I have fallen asleep to people crying, yelling and fighting,” says Jacob.

Wind operates the only resource-intensive center dedicated to homeless young people. With nearly 1,000 youth visiting monthly, and at least 15% unduplicated, Wind provides a structured, age-appropriate, environment away from the dangers of the street.  For these adolescents, the daily schedule of the Center is their only exposure to a “normal” life.

Afraid and “hyper-vigilant,” the darkness of night is anything but restful to a homeless teenager. Here at the Center, young people are provided access to a “respite room” where they can sleep under the watchful eye of counselors. Teens are also provided a locker to secure their limited belongings, access to a kitchen, computer, shower and laundry facilities.

Once at the Center, counselors and staff members focus on the specific needs of each young person by assessing their health concerns, reviewing safe housing options, exploring education and job opportunities and ensuring they receive timely crisis management counseling.

The Wind Center is at the heart of what we do, and is the first contact with most of our youth. Can you help us continue to provide a safe place for Sacramento’s homeless youth? Your donation will provide more resources as the youth pursue self-determined lives of stability and independence; but more importantly a safe place of acceptance and love.

With gratitude,

Suzi Dotson, Executive Director

P.S. Daniel and Jacob’s story of violence and drugs is not unusual. Can you consider a donation to help youth like Daniel and Jacob realize their potential as healthy, successful, young adults?

Wind begins renovations on new Youth Center

Wind Youth Services has secured a new location at 815 S Street in Midtown, Sacramento! Construction has begun to renovate it for use (you can see Executive Director, Suzi Dotson, swinging the first hammer).

The staff has already taken up residence on the top floor, and the bottom floor should be ready for use by early summer. An effort is now underway to raise the funds necessary to make this ideal building and location Wind’s permanent home.

As announced earlier, a $1 million gift was pledged by Golden 1 Credit Union, and several leadership gifts have also been secured from Wind Board Members, SMUD, The Donant Foundation, and others.

The new Wind Center will offer an innovative approach to end youth homelessness in Sacramento by co-locating housing, employment, health, education and other essential services designed specifically for youth.

Wind currently operates the only resource-intensive center dedicated to young people. Despite serving over 1,000 youth annually, the number of homeless youth continues to rise. Operating out of a 3,000 sq. ft. converted adult shelter, the current Wind Center is unable to provide the comprehensive services these young people so desperately need. Recent partnerships have provided an opportunity to convert the current Center to a youth-specific emergency shelter, adding 20 additional beds to Wind’s shelter capacity, while allowing the Center to be relocated to a new 14,000 sq. ft. centrally located facility.

This new facility will serve as THE front-door for all youth in crisis. The Center will continue to provide a structured, age-appropriate, safe place away from the street. Youth will also be provided a locker to secure their belongings, access to a kitchen, computer, shower and laundry facilities.

Mindful that many homeless youth are reluctant to seek help for fear of losing the only family they know, the Center will also provide kennel accommodations and pet food.

Once at the Center, counselors and staff members focus on the specific needs of each and every young person by assessing their health concerns, reviewing safe housing options, exploring education and job opportunities and ensuring they receive timely crisis management counseling.

Early intervention and diversion will continue to be a foundational service, preventing youth from ever becoming homeless through family counseling and reunification whenever possible.

Together, Wind, along with several partner agencies will use evidence-based approaches to provide immediate access to safety services, mental health counseling, career and education services, and connection to permanent housing resources depending on the individual needs.

Hope Lives Here

Teresa Owens was just 13 years old and living in Torrance, California, when she boarded a train to Sacramento. Traveling alone, she carried in her bag just a toothbrush and a few items of clothing. Owens, now 24, recalls arriving in the city she had no personal connection to and had never before visited. “I just picked it because I recognized the name.”

After stepping off the train, she headed downtown. “I found a place in the downstairs of a parking garage by the jail. A lot of homeless sleep there. The first night I didn’t sleep at all,” says Owens. Yet over days and weeks, the people she met in the bowels of the parking garage grew into a sort of family for the young teen. “We took care of each other.” She made the garage her home for the next several months, stealing food and clothing to survive.

Owens had come to Sacramento fleeing a chaotic home life in Southern California. Her parents—her mother was born in Havana, her father hailed from Mississippi—had been childhood sweethearts, but the family had come upon hard times. The family moved often because of evictions and unstable employment. Arguments were frequent. When the couple split in 2001, Owens lived with her mother and five siblings.

Owens remembers when she was 9 and the family was residing in a hotel. “We would get dropped off by the bus, and my mom used to always meet us at the bus stop. But one day she wasn’t there, so we walked home. The door was unlocked but nobody was there. So we waited and waited and waited,” says Owens. Her younger siblings grew hungry, so Owens made them some eggs, catching the small kitchen on fire. The children managed to put it out themselves. “But nobody came and checked on us for like a week.”

Her mother, who had become addicted to drugs, was eventually reunited with Owens and her siblings but was unable to provide a stable home life for her children in spite of experiencing periods of sobriety. The turmoil in the home weighed heavily on Owens, who eventually took matters into her own hands.

“I got tired of it,” she says. “My mom was really struggling. She was taking all her anger out on me. I got tired of all the mental and physical abuse.” With no other family to turn to, she made the decision to leave and start a new life in Sacramento.

Living on and off the streets for several years, Owens’ life took an unexpected turn. She was hanging out with a friend who needed to go to Wind Youth Services’ drop-in center to get help obtaining a government ID card. What Owens found there gave her hope: a warm meal, clean clothing, bus passes, compassionate staffers who wanted to help her find employment and housing.

Read the full story in Sacramento Magazine here.