It is with a heavy heart that I send this note …
Being that we are a school based program, our services ceased when the schools closed and we no longer had access to the more than 200 kids we were seeing individually and in our weekly support groups, or the thousands of kids that we impacted by our weekly/monthly outreach campaigns. It has been really hard not continuing to work with these amazing kids, who have put so much love and focus into their healing and growth … we just have to believe that all the good work we did until our services ended, provides them with the tools, coping skills and the confidence, to continue moving in a healthy forward motion.
That being said, as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, we made the difficult decision to close our doors until further notice. Again, our services provide free mental health to kids 12 – 18, during the school day, on the school campus – so without our kids, we are limited to what we can do on a daily basis. On top of not being in a position to provide mental health, we are also not in a position that we can actively fund raise due to “Safer at Home” orders. As many other non-profits who rely heavily on special events, we were forced to cancel or postpone our three biggest fundraisers indefinitely; this creates a tremendous obstacle for being able to maintain a viable and financially healthy organization at the present time. Funding has halted and contracts are taking longer to pay what they owe, and despite the ramping up of private foundation grant submissions, or applying for emergency relief funding, there is no guarantee of what is to come or when and for those reasons … we are on hiatus.
I have been at the helm of this organization since 2005 and have watched our growth exponentially in the last 15 years; I have been extremely proud to be part of our impact in the Santa Clarita Valley over the course of the last two decades. It has been quite humbling. And despite all of our success, we have been in dire straits before and have come out stronger because of it. I am remaining hopeful that we will find ourselves yet again, on the other side of this … bigger and better and ready to welcome the Hart District students back with open arms!
So many of you have supported our agency over the last 20 years and we are so grateful, truly and deeply grateful. It is because of you and your belief in what we are accomplishing, that we were able to keep doing great work on behalf of the thousands of teens and their families, who struggle every day with depression, suicide, anxiety, substance abuse, bullying, domestic violence, sexual assault, and the list goes on. We can confidently say we have saved so many lives over the course of the last 20 years, and helped so many young people navigate their teen years filled with angst, trauma, grief and despair. We have witnessed countless numbers of youth overcome their darkest moments and have celebrated every milestone – it is not lost on us by any stretch of the imagination how willing and open kids have been to seek support and the trust they placed in us to help them be better humans. We are committed to reopening our doors as soon as we can to further our mission … and we hope that you will continue to support and honor our agency as you always have.
I know so many other community and business leaders who are struggling right now as we are, and it is during times like these, that I am so appreciative for the love and kindness of our SCV friends and neighbors who are still financially contributing where they can … that gives me great hope for the Youth Project’s future.
I will still be here, working/volunteering from my home, updating the website, creating resources for teens and families, sharing tips for coping, wrapping up the 2019/2020 school year, and preparing for what I know will be a hard year ahead for our kids, who have already endured so much this past year. I hope you will join me in sharing our information when you see it come across your feed, accepting our invitation to our awesome charity events when it is safe to reschedule, and giving financially when and if you can spare it. We are all in this together, apart.
Thank you for your compassion and for your trust in me, the Board of Directors and our staff for all these years. We will be back and we can’t wait to see you all again!
Take good care of yourself and your loved ones. Stay safe and stay connected.
Kim Goldman, Executive Director