Our mission is to help homeless, unaccompanied youth ages 12-25 become happy, self-sufficient adults.
There are around 400 unaccompanied youths that are currently homeless in Nashua alone. They have no safe place to go, and many live in tents on the banks of the Nashua river. Lucky kids drift from one friend’s house to another, or are taken in by a family member from time to time. But when luck turns, they are on their own.
Many of these kids come from abusive homes, and have run away. Some are “throwaways”, where their families have kicked them out. Others still have aged out of the foster care system. They have nowhere to go, and no one to turn to for help. The adults in their lives have failed them, and trust does not come easy.
Homeless youths feel unsafe each and every night. Their few possessions may be stolen, drugs and alcohol are rampant, physical abuse, and sex trafficking are very real fears. These factors combined with their youth put them at an increased risk of mental illness, poor health, lacking education, becoming involved with criminal activity, or becoming a victim. These kids are desperate for a way out. They long for a safe place to go, and they want to be able to help themselves because that is the only person they have been able to consistently rely on in the past. These kids want to work with others, not have things done for them. They want to be part of their own solution.
Stepping Stones is working towards a 24/7 center, so that homeless kids always have a place to go that is safe, no matter what the hour. Our current hours are Sunday- Friday 8 AM to 4 PM. Once funding allows, we will be expanding our hours. Here is a place where they can always get the basics they need - a safe place to rest, food, showers/bathrooms, a place to keep their stuff, and someone to talk to. At Stepping Stones, homeless kids become comfortable, so that they can move away from worrying about their safety, and moving towards becoming self-sufficient, happy adults. While at Stepping Stones, they can explore new ideas and access other resources, many of which they may not even be aware are available to them.
Some of the activities/services include
child care for parenting youth so that they can utilize the center services
independent living skills training
tutoring for both basic skills and higher-level training
small business incubator
rec area so they can have some safe downtime
computer access for schoolwork or research
goal planning, support, and encouragement
volunteering opportunities for life experiences
work with additional resources for better health- both physical and mental, better-paying jobs, and obtaining housing that they are comfortable they can maintain.
Mentors teach youth different skills that will help them in the future and help to make a permanent connection to a caring adult.
Stepping Stones is an equal opportunity organization and will not allow discrimination based upon age, ethnicity, ancestry, gender, national origin, disability, race, size, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic background, or any other status prohibited by applicable law.