Who We Serve
For 29 years and counting, My Friend’s Place has been assisting and inspiring homeless youth to build self-sufficient lives. From our early beginnings as a volunteer-based group serving meals from the trunks of cars to the dynamic resource center we operate today, My Friend’s Place offers a comprehensive continuum of services to some 1,400 homeless youth between the ages of 12 and 25, and their children, each year, helping our homeless young people to move toward wellness, stability and self-sufficiency.
How We Serve
Due to childhood trauma and negative experiences with adults and with institutions, many homeless youth do not readily accept aid. Building rapport is the key factor in developing successful life-transitioning strategies for young people who might be hesitant to accept services.
Trust is our most valuable commodity. Our ultimate goal is to increase each youth’s ability to meet their basic physical and emotional needs, identify and connect each youth to relevant community resources, and rebuild each individual’s self-esteem, self-respect, and self-sufficiency.
My Friend’s Place Guiding Principles:
- Human Worth – We believe each homeless young person has inherent value, is competent and resourceful, and possesses something unique to offer society. Each youth deserves respect, understanding and the opportunity to reach their full potential.
- Individualized Response – We treat each youth’s needs, potential, thoughts and feelings with specialized attention unique to the individual.
- Trust – We believe trust is the cornerstone to rebuilding hope and pride in the youth we serve. Trust must be consistently, continually cultivated and reinforced among and between youth, staff, volunteers and community members.
- Low-Barrier – We minimize the psychological, physical, and social barriers that typically deter youth from seeking and accepting assistance from a social service agency.
- Judgment-Free – We foster an environment that is free of shame and protects the pride and dignity of each individual, including youth, staff, volunteers or community members. We deny service to no one within our age range regardless of gender, race, class, economic status, ethnic background, sexual orientation, physical and mental health, cultural and religious backgrounds, legal status, or political platform.
- Harm-Reduction – We provide education and support so youth can reduce harm caused by high risk behaviors associated with street survival. We believe that alleviating – not only eliminating – the severity of dangerous behaviors is a legitimate and valuable step toward recovery that should be encouraged and celebrated.
- Strength-Based – While preserving their dignity, we empower youth to uncover their strengths and use them as tools to achieve greater goals. We accept the responsibility of being a positive adult role model in each youth’s life.
For more information, visit www.myfriendsplace.org
Listen below as Kari Steele sits down with Heather Carmichael, L.C.S.W., (Executive Director)who has been with MFP for nearly 17 years. They discuss how the program got started, how it is benefiting thousands of teens, and their upcoming event, My Friend’s Place 30th Anniversary Gala on April 7, 2018 atThe Hollywood Palladium.