Breaking Bread

Tough Talks With Kids

EmbraceRace carries the philosophy that through conversation we can create lasting shifts in our collective thinking, and there’s no better way to start talking than with your kids.

Instead of tiptoeing around tough talks, let’s help them gain awareness in a way that isn’t overwhelming. Because even if they don’t explicitly understand it, they pick up on racism and prejudice at an early age. Give ‘em books on POC, celebrate bi-racial heritages, volunteer as an educator at their elementary school, etc. The bottom line is: talk about it.

The non-profit is your one-stop shop for questions or curiosities on how to approach these convos. They relay the most important and current topics and galvanize parents, teachers, and social justice advocates in an online platform that educates and discusses.

EmbraceRace brings forward the nuances of these issues. It’s (literally) not black and white. For example, their blog recently shared a personal story by a half Mexican American and Nigerian and the accompanying confusion of trying to establish a sense of self. She talked about the process of accepting and celebrating this multi-layered identity.

Guess what––you can get involved. The program is expanding their resources, and you can help them do it! The dough they raise will help their vision really root and spread through an even more comprehensive platform. Start by donating online and then get on reading their killer blog posts.

Homeless Shelter for Young Adults Breaking Bread

Harvard Grads Open Student-Run Homeless Shelter for Young Adults

The inclusive space is designed to address a unique problem in traditional shelters.

Being homeless is obviously tough, but it can be especially hard as a young adult. Aged out of foster care, young adults are left to adult homeless shelters where their age makes them more vulnerable than older adults.

Sarah Rosenkrantz and Sam Greenberg – recent graduates of Harvard – opened Y2Y Harvard Square, a student-run homeless shelter for young adults, to offer an alternative solution. Now, homeless youth ages 18 to 24 in the Boston area can count on having a safer place to sleep at night.

“Young people don’t feel safe, and often aren’t, in adult shelters,” said Rosenkrantz told Huffington Post. “We felt it would be wrong not to open up a space for our peers.”

 

Young Adults Shelter
The shelter serves healthy dinners every night. Photo: Greg Premru

 

With no application necessary, Y2Y uses a trauma-informed, gender-inclusive approach to welcoming people of all experiences into their sanctuary. Between 20-40% of homeless youth are LGBTQ and the shelter makes sure they feel safe – bunks and restrooms are gender-neutral, and staff never ask for gender identification on arrival.

Y2Y also offers resources and support for visitors to have long-term success after their 30-day stay. Demand is always bigger than supply, so helping those who do score a bunk bed at Y2Y find long-term housing or employment is an integral part of their platform.

The 30-person volunteer staff coordinate daily dinners, yoga classes, mental health care, and bring in professionals to coach in career readiness and legal assistance.

“Our goal is to meet people where they are, and support them in their goals,” Rosenkrantz told Huffington Post. “Some people want jobs or to go back to school or to find housing, and we have case managers working to connect them with services. Others just need to rest and recuperate from the trauma of living on the street.”

 

homeless young adults shelter
Bunks come with a light, plug, and locker. Photo: Greg Premru

 

Greenberg and Rosenkrantz also believe that exposing Harvard students to homelessness and encouraging a habit of volunteering will make them better participants in society after college.“Not to be excessively crass, but this is why people at Harvard who get the privilege of studying this shit still go into fields that actively increase inequity,” Greenberg told Crimson. He argues that it’s very important to volunteer.

But Rosenkrantz emphasizes that Y2Y isn’t a flock of Harvard students with a savior complex rushing in to save the day. The shelter’s priority is always youth looking for a place to stay, teaching the volunteers comes after that’s taken care of.

Y2Y aims to reach 150 volunteers and we think it can happen. Go here if you’d like to donate money or time.

Feature photo by Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer

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