Philanthropy Friday: Valley Youth House

Where to go when you're feeling philanthropic.

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Every Friday Delaware Valley Legacy Fund (DVLF) Executive Director Samantha Giusti introduces you to a local LGBT non-profit in Philadelphia. This week, Valerie Johnson on Warminster’s Valley Youth House, an organization that works to improve the lives of local homeless youth and their families.

Valerie TK and Wired 96.5's  Buster TK at Valley Youth House's annual Casino Night.

Valerie Johnson (L) and Buster from Wired 96.5 at Valley Youth House’s annual Casino Night.

Who are you? Valerie Johnson, development officer at Valley Youth House.

Valley Youth House was founded in … 1973.

One-sentence mission statement: The mission of Valley Youth House is to provide prevention and intervention services, counseling, life skills and behavioral health services to abused, neglected, and homeless youth and their families.

Our biggest shining moment, to date was the inception of our Pride housing program in 2009. We are the only organization in Philadelphia to provide rapid rehousing to homeless LGBTQ youth, which includes rental assistance and supportive services to prepare the youth for independence. Given that 40 percent of homeless youth identify as LGBT compared to just 3 to 5 percent of the general population, these youth are experiencing homelessness at a disproportionate rate and we’re proud to be able to support them.

Pride Housing class graduation.

Pride Housing class graduation.

If a check for $1 million found its way to my doorstep… There would probably be quite a lot of jumping up and down, and it would be very difficult to stop smiling for several days. Our programs are already doing so much with so little that a donation this large would greatly impact the lives of many, many more homeless youth.

Do you have any special events coming up? Of course! We’re preparing for our Holiday Gift Drive, which pairs interested donors with a holiday wish list from a youth in need. The drive culminates in a holiday party on December 11th, where we will provide a traditional holiday meal for our youth and distribute the gifts.

We’re also preparing for our 5th annual Always Bet on Youth Casino Night, which will be held Friday, March 13th, at Union Trust. Save the date!

Always Bet On Youth 2014.

Always Bet On Youth 2014.

Are there other ways I can contribute without giving money? Yes! Volunteers are always welcome. We host monthly volunteer information sessions where interested volunteers can meet with our staff and youth to learn more about what we do and how they can help. The next two sessions will be held on Tuesday, November 11th, and #GivingTuesday, December 2nd, at 1500 Sansom Street, Suite 300A. Please contact [email protected] to sign up.

How can I donate money? You can make a donation on our website, or you can make a check out to Valley Youth House and send it to us at 1500 Sansom Street, Suite 300A, Philadelphia, PA 19102.

Want to have your non-profit featured in an upcoming Philanthropy Friday? Email Samantha at [email protected].