The Main Place – Addressing Invisible Needs

By Erica Rascón on Jul 31, 2014 The needs of our neighbors aren’t always evident. When Sharon Johnston served as the president of Irving Women’s Network (IWN) from 2004-2006, the organization was shocked to discover that there were over 1,000 homeless teenagers in their town. Johnston immediately called the school district’s homeless liaison to figure out how such a need could be overlooked. “I discovered that most of them were couch surfing or doubling up – multiple families living in one small home or apartment,” says Johnston. While many families avoid life on the streets, they are still unable to make ends meet. Among other things, the growing children lack adequate clothing. The main place YMCA shoot Johnston, a resourceful leader, quickly gathered a budget from IWN and purchased one hundred pairs of jeans, one hundred T-Shirts and one hundred hoodies. “That’s the unisex thing that everyone is wearing, kind of a uniform for teens,” Johnston laughs. She contacted Project PASS and had the clothing distributed to local teens. A similar system continued for several years. In 2009, Johnston joined forces with four other women to form Advocates for Homeless Teens. Through a triad partnership with IWN, Stein Mart- Las Colinas and Dignity U Wear (a national charity founded by an Auschwitz survivor) they received 16 commercial-sized boxes of clothing but they had no place to store or distribute the apparel. The fledgling organization rallied support from local leaders, getting their major breakthrough with the Mayor. Johnston would have been …

August 11, 2014  /  Comments Off on The Main Place – Addressing Invisible Needs

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