With thousands of young people experiencing homelessness in Clark County, Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth (NPHY)’s doors have remained open, providing immediate needs items, shelter, housing, case management, therapy, and more to youth in need of support. The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting service delivery to these most vulnerable community members; and now, more than ever, NPHY needs volunteer support and has compiled a series of creative opportunities for people to get involved while maintaining social distancing practices.
NPHY has announced several new virtual opportunities for interested volunteers to stay engaged with the issue of youth homelessness and support NPHY in delivering critical services to vulnerable youth coinciding with the recent National Volunteer Week. Opportunities include creating snack, hygiene or hobby kits; writing e-notes of encouragement; and becoming a virtual advocate for the youth homelessness issue.
“National Volunteer Week gave us with another opportunity to recognize the volunteers who help and support the mission of organizations like ours, and we are so thankful for all of the support we receive throughout the year,” said Arash Ghafoori, executive director of NPHY. “Volunteer assistance is vital, especially during this time, for nonprofit agencies that have limited budgets and need help to keep up support to our beneficiaries. With COVID-19 physical distancing in place, traditional volunteer activities are not possible – but we’ve gotten creative and are inviting volunteers to join us in new ways.”
Because schools, libraries and businesses are closed, homeless youth must rely more heavily on NPHY since many of their other safe places aren’t accessible now. Virtual volunteers can continue to help NPHY by putting together “sunshine kits,” which are snack and food-filled donation boxes, or hygiene kits with soap, shampoo and other amenities. New opportunities include writing e-notes of encouragement with messages of hope. NPHY also is now soliciting hobby boxes that can be created at home to assist youth in enjoying a new craft such as painting, calligraphy or T-shirt tie-dying. Finally, NPHY has created a tool kit with relevant facts, statistics and calls-to-action so that volunteers can be advocates for homeless youth and spread the word about NPHY’s needs.
Among the many valued volunteers providing support to NPHY are Bishop Gorman High School students who have donated more than 3,000 sunshine and hygiene kits and put in more than 300 volunteer hours to date.
Future volunteer opportunities will include virtual classes and other ways to virtually engage with NPHY clients. Additionally, NPHY will host “Coffee and Catch Up” calls, in which volunteers and staff can connect with each other, share updates and discuss new volunteer opportunities.
In addition to virtual volunteer opportunities, financial and supply donations are still needed. Critical in-kind donation needs include food, water, hygiene and cleaning supplies. These items also can be found on NPHY’s Amazon Wish List. To learn more about ways to help NPHY virtually and download templates and guidelines, visit www.nphy.org/covid19. Donations can be dropped off at the NPHY Drop-In Center at 4981 Shirley Street, just south of UNLV.
About Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth
NPHY is the most comprehensive service provider for the thousands of homeless youth in Southern Nevada, serving hundreds of youth through core programs and touching the lives of thousands more through outreach each year. NPHY’s programs stabilize homeless teens’ lives, meeting their immediate needs and providing a safe, supportive environment and a path to self- sufficiency. Through work with homeless youth, NPHY creates productive, healthy adults who contribute to society. Strengthening and complementing the high-quality direct services for homeless youth, NPHY is dedicated to advocating for the Las Vegas Valley’s homeless youth population and serves as a leader in systems-level efforts to eliminate homelessness among Nevada’s youth. For more information or to support our life-changing work for homeless youth, please visit www.nphy.org.