WHEELING, W. Va. (WTRF)
Imagine that someone gave you $10,000.
Now imagine that they did this every year for 11 years.
That’s what the Women’s Giving Circle, a fund of the Community Foundation of the Ohio Valley, has done for the YSS Transitional Living Program, specifically for female members of the program.
They have just received this year’s donation, and they’re grateful.
The YSS Transitional Living Program is where young people age 17 to 24 live in apartments and learn adult skills.
“I didn’t learn how to wash clothes or cook for myself or drive,” said Vin, a new resident. “I was never given these opportunities, so being here feels like I get to re-do my childhood.”
Bee Evans was suddenly homeless at age 18 due to family issues.
“I was terrified that I was going to be on the street,” she said. “I’ve never been on the street before. You know, at 18, that’s a terrifying place. So this program seems like a dream come true and it’s just, I’ve found a family here.”
The Women’s Giving Circle members couldn’t imagine not having a mentor, a guide, in their youth.
“Someone who helped us along the way and said well you have to get a job, go to school, learn how to take care of yourself,” noted Susie Nelson, executive director of the CFOV. “And for young people who don’t have that, this program provides that.”
“We teach them how to cook, how to grocery shop on a budget, meal plan,” said Patty Morgan, McCrary Center team leader. “If they need to know how to clean, we help them with that too.”
And they learn some lessons that are even more important.
“My family were not the most loving or caring of me, so having this in my life really just gives me that sense in my life and I really appreciate it,” said Vin. “And it’s something I never thought would happen.”
Right now, YSS has 34 young people in the Transitional Living Program, some at the McCrary Center and some in apartments in the community.