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Journey to Dream to open shelter for homeless teens

Local News, Notes and Events
Posted by LewisvilleTexan on 2016/4/26 3:30:00 (3743 reads)

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The former location of Special Abilities of North Texas, which has moved to a new location, will be the site for Kyle's Place, a shelter for homeless teenagers. The building will be totally restructured and remodeled to be suitable to provide the needed services. (Top photo by Dan Eakin, bottom rendering by Bates Martin Architects - as submitted to the Lewisville City Council)


Journey to Dream has been helping teenagers who are homeless and/or are struggling with destructive behavior since 2004.

This summer, the local non-profit will go a step further. Journey to Dream plans to open a shelter for homeless teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18.

The shelter, to be known as Kyle's Place, will be the only shelter in Denton County for unaccompanied homeless teenagers.

Kim Hinkle, Journey to Dream co-founder and executive director, said the shelter is being named for Kyle, “an inspiring student whom we tragically lost in 2012.”

Journey to Dream closed this week on the purchase of property at 1960 Archer Way in Northwest Lewisville.

Hinkle said the building, which formerly housed Special Abilities of North Texas, will be remodeled in order to provide services for many of the young people in the Lewisville area who have been designated as homeless at Lewisville middle schools and high schools.

The new facility, when opened, will have 16 beds, and will have a full staff on duty 24 hours a day to see that those who stay there have good food to eat, acceptable clothing and whatever counseling they may need. Tutoring and job training will also be offered.

Hinkle said between 400 and 500 teenagers in Denton County are classified as homeless every year.
“That doesn't mean that they are sleeping under bridges, at the bus station or behind a store, although some have,” she said. “Many of them, as many as 80 percent, are what we call 'sofa surfers,' which means they sleep on sofas in homes where an individual or a family has invited them to sleep.”

While Journey to Dream will not be able to provide shelter for all of the homeless teens in the county, the leaders of the organization are expecting more than 100 homeless teens to spend some time in the shelter over a year's time.

The Lewisville City Council put its stamp of approval on the teen shelter at a regular meeting last week. The council okayed a zoning change, a Special Use Permit and variances to allow Journey to Dream have the building and property restructured in a way which will be suitable for the services to be offered.

In 2004, Hinkle and her friend Kari Rusco started Journey to Dream. They both had husbands or ex-husbands who had problems with substance abuse, and daughters who were affected by destructive behavior.

Hinkle said there were other organizations in the area that work with younger children who were homeless or who were facing behavioral problems, but she said she had noticed “a void” in the need for providing the services to teenagers.

Journey to Dream quickly won the support of the community. A golf tournament and a gala raises funds for Journey to Dream each year, and Journey to Dream has contracted with the Lewisville Independent School District to provide services, including school assemblies and group meetings with kids.

Assemblies at different high schools in the LISD are scheduled between now and the time school is out next month. Speakers will include high school and college students who have overcome addictions or other problems.

Journey to Dream also often has group meetings after school with homeless teenagers or teenagers affected by destructive behavior.

Hinkle said Journey to Dream does what it can to prevent teen pregnancies and to keep kids from getting involved with alcohol or drugs. Also, bullying prevention is a major part of the organization's goals.

Journey to Dream also provides counseling for girls who are already pregnant and for kids who are affected by destructive behavior.

Hinkle said the goal is to be able also to provide more counseling to parents of teenagers who are homeless or are affected by destructive behavior.

According to the Journey to Dream website:

“Journey to Dream equips and empowers young people to overcome adversity and achieve their dreams. Journey to Dream was born in 2004, founded on a single devotion: To support at-risk teens – those silently struggling with the isolation and chaos that addiction and abuse so often bring.

“Since its inception, the organization has positively impacted the lives of more than 85,000 teens through school assemblies, peer-to-peer groups, support groups led by experienced mentors, as well as community action and social events – all aimed at empowering teens with the tools necessary to overcome adversity.

“Over the course of our work with youth, we discovered the hidden epidemic of teen homelessness, setting into motion our current and most challenging endeavor: Kyle’s Place. Opening in the summer of 2016, Kyle’s Place will be the only teen homeless shelter in Denton County, an area that sees over 2,000 homeless students on any given night.

“In addition to the support services we’ve honed working with teens for the past decade, we’ll be providing homeless teens with a safe place to sleep, out of harm’s way of human traffickers and violent offenders. Kyle’s Place will prove the rule that housing the homeless costs far less than leaving them on the street.

“The value gleaned from keeping these kids in school, empowering them with life skills, and returning them to the community where they can apply their God-given talent is limitless. It’s possible, plausible, and more importantly, it’s the right thing to do.”

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