Youth on Fire (YOF), a program of AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts, is a drop-in center for homeless and street-involved youth, ages 14-24, located in Harvard Square, Cambridge.
Over 3,000 youth have benefitted from YOF since the program opened its doors in the Spring of 2000.
The primary goals of Youth on Fire are to:
- Respond to the basic and urgent needs of homeless and street-involved young adults at highest risk of communicable diseases and victimization.
- Connect homeless and street-involved youth to age-appropriate services including on-site behavioral health and medical care through strengths-based case management.
- Create safe and supportive relationships and a sense of community through activities, events and groups
- Partner with community and civic organizations, local businesses, public officials and advocacy groups to address the short and long-term effects of youth homelessness.
YOF provides a broad spectrum of vital services, supports and opportunities based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Positive Youth Development principles. Core elements of YOF’s three-tiered service delivery system include the following:
Tier 1 Services: a) hot meals; b) showers; c) laundry; d) lockers; e) voice-mail and phone; and f) computers in a safe and welcoming drop-in center.
Tier 2 Supports: a) behavioral health services; b) medical care; c) HIV, STI and viral hepatitis screenings; d) housing search; e) enrollment in health insurance and benefits; f) educational workshops; and g) supported referrals for other self-identified needs.
Tier 3 Opportunities: a) Peer Outreach and Education program; b) Youth Advisory Board; c) Speaker’s Bureau; d) art and talent shows; e) Hiring Committee; and f) Community Give Back Days, in which members clean up the surrounding neighborhoods of Youth on Fire and Harvard Square.
Annually, Youth on Fire serves over 200 young adults who make over 3,000 visits to the center, and connects members to:
- 4,000 meals and snacks
- 2,376 check-in conversations
- 216 HIV/STI tests
- 123 housing support referrals
- 50 Narcan/Overdose prevention enrollments
To see photos of the space and our activities, please go to our Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/YouthOnFireMA
Currently, Youth on Fire is seeking donations to help support many of its free services. In the last two years, the number of clients served has doubled, while funding has decreased.
Can you support their work with a donation? Whether it’s $10, $100 or $1000, your donation will make a real difference in the life of a homeless young adult.
We thank you and our members thank you.
To make a donation to support Youth on Fire’s work, contact AIDS Action’s Development Department at 617.424.9255 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.