All youth entering Covenant House must have a physical and a mental health screening within 48 hours of intake. We partner with Cherry Health, Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services, and Network 180 Services to provide evaluations, diagnosis, coordination of medications, and treatment services. At the time of intake, we help our residents create a life plan that identifies their strengths, passions, and aspirations, rather than dwelling on issues that have resulted in becoming homeless. This strengths-based approach provides a platform to spring forward rather than relive memories of abuse, neglect, poverty, and being shunned due to gender identification.
The relationship self-assessment process is a critical first step to help our youth better understand a healthy approach to relationships. Staff delves into their relationship history, including self-worth and personal growth, relational giving to others’ needs, emotional investment, and relationship building. Tactics range from one-on-one counseling to small group discussions to structured seminars in a safe environment. Educational seminars are held monthly on values and belief systems awareness, conflict resolution, building value systems, anger management, and self-advocacy, to name a few. The education/employment specialist guides the youth to secure a sustainable income to support safe, permanent housing, and daily living needs. This help includes job coaching, resume writing, and interview skill development. Our staff also works to understand their capacity for employment in various work environments.
Every one of our youth comes in from society’s margins as housing insecure young people and equipped to participate fully in life as adults. Through our 90-day program, they receive their GED or high school diploma. Staff members help them secure personal identity forms to get a job, open a bank account, rent an apartment, and vote. They are coached to seek out and secure permanent employment, cultivate positive relationships, and save their income. By becoming independent adults, they can represent their communities and give back to help others in need.