Youth on Fire
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 mental 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) mental 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.
In FY13, Youth on Fire served over 650 young adults, with over 5,000 visits to the center, and connected members to:
- 10,000 meals and snacks
- 1,924 check-in conversations, and 650 Risk Reduction sessions
- 234 HIV tests (all negative!)
- 193 visits with a medical professional
- 150 STI tests
- 133 housing support referrals
- 95 visits with a mental health professional
- 40 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 servies. 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.
$10 buys: body wash and laundry detergent for 1 week
$50 buys: 25 T passes to help members get to medical appointments
$100 buys: gloves and hats for 1 month
$250 buys: socks and underwear for two months
$1000 buys: meals and snacks for two months
Donations can be mailed c/o AIDS Action Committee, 75 Amory Street, Boston, MA 02119. We thank you and our members thank you.
Youth on Fire is located at 1555 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138.