Father Joe’s Villages’ Teen Club brightens lives for kids experiencing teen homelessness.

Sleepovers, birthday parties, ice cream, movies… these experiences are out of reach for so many children who are homeless. On top of the typical stresses of adolescence, kids experiencing teen homelessness face deep anxiety about meeting their basic needs every day, leaving less time to enjoy the carefree fun of being a kid.

Teens in Father Joe's Villages' Teen Club have access to a range of fun and educational activities.Teen Club is a chance for youth at Father Joe’s Villages to escape daily pressures of life. On Friday nights, teenagers have the chance to interact with peers facing similar challenges, connect with role models and simply have a good time.

However, creating excitement and joy for Village teens takes more than just pulling the Wii out of the closet and providing a place to hang out. Several volunteers and staff members dedicate their free time to designing wonderful experiences, including organizing, hosting and sponsoring Teen Club events.

One committed volunteer Joel Schneider remarked on why he dedicates himself to this work:

“The Father Joe’s Villages Teen Club is an opportunity to see donations of time and money go straight to the benefactors. The essence of the club is to expose these kids to positive experiences and people in the San Diego community.”

Joel and other volunteers create these positive experiences by not only planning and chaperoning teen outings, but also raising money for the program. In addition to consistently fundraising through his family and friends, Joel occasionally plans community special events benefiting the Teen Club. In September of 2016, Joel hosted “Be a Superhero For Father Joe’s” at the High Dive Bar and Grill. Guests were invited to become super men and women for kids experiencing teen homelessness. In total, the memorable event raised more than $2,100 for the Teen Club.

While the fundraiser proved to be a super night for all, it was more than just a good time for Joel:

“The budget for the teen club is fixed and does not come close to covering the cost of all of our activities. The superhero event at the High Dive was a chance for members of the San Diego community to donate money or purchase silent auction items, knowing the money went directly toward the enrichment of homeless youth.”

Funds raised for the Teen Club go toward supporting fun and educational activities for teens, including the many delights planned for 2017. As Joel elaborates, “We have upcoming plans to cruise the bay with the San Diego Harbor Police, BBQ on the beach at Crown Point, cook dinner back at the childcare center, and we are looking into the possibility of taking a trip to Universal Studios.”

Beyond this, Joel and the Teen Club are always open to new ideas.

“When people come to us with ideas on how they could help enrich these kids’ lives, we are very open-minded…Whether it is sponsoring a trip, providing food for a BBQ or offering your place of business as a venue for a Friday night event, we would love to hear from you. You will get a front row seat to witness your charity’s full effects!”

You have the opportunity to provide youth experiencing teen homelessness the chance to just be kids for a day. Can you host a Teen Club outing at a local business? Would you like to sponsor a fundraiser to brighten the lives of these kids? Transform the lives of San Diego teens working through the challenges of homelessness today. Contact us at yourfriends@neighbor.org.