Rare Breed Youth Outreach Center
301 N. Main Ave., Springfield, MO 65806
The Rare Breed Youth Outreach Center (RBYOC) is a unique place that promotes healthy relationships, resiliency, empowerment, and healing for Springfield’s young people. The Rare Breed collaborates with multiple agencies in the area to bring in the best programs for youth to overcome poverty and trauma and go on to lead healthy productive adult lives. The Rare Breed offers an array of services starting with the Street Outreach Program with the goal of getting at-risk and homeless youth into our Outreach Center to build a positive relationship and provide basic needs. Healing happens when youth have healthy positive relationships and that is the foundation of the program. Once youth engage in services we begin with developing a unique plan for that youth to gain employment, get their basic education, get their mental health stabilized, receive substance abuse treatment, and get into stable housing. The Rare Breed has been assisting youth experiencing homelessness, inter-generational poverty, and trauma since June of 2000 and serves 60-70 youth a night.
Every service and referral offered at the Rare Breed is geared specifically to a teenager’s unique situation and journey. For young people living on the street, the drop-in center offers showers, lockers, laundry facilities, kitchen facilities, a hot meal, life skills groups, HISET classes, a computer lab, a weight room, a nursery, kennels for furry friends, and a recreation area with pool tables where young people can get off the streets and be safe. Youth can express themselves and learn positive coping skills in our music room, recording studio, and art studio. The center also has a budding urban farm and a build-a-bike program which gives youth the opportunity to learn how to build a bicycle and then they get to keep it!
Education is an important aspect of the Rare Breed program. High School Equivalency (HSE) classes (formerly GED classes) are offered at the Rare Breed through OTC Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Students are provided bus passes, lunch and free child care if needed, plus the cost of the HSE test.
Additionally, case management services assist Rare Breed clients navigate more severe needs including mental health, substance abuse, employment, education, and short/long term housing.
Street outreach is the root of our program. Staff go into the streets multiple times a week to meet youth where they are, build relationships on the street, and provide case management. Staff and volunteers fill backpacks with survival items, food, water, tents, tarps, community resources, warm/cool weather items, and all sorts of other materials. With these bags packed, staff go out into the wooded areas of town, sewer systems and search for youth experiencing homelessness with the goal of getting the youth into the outreach center and off the streets.
Safe Place Springfield
The Rare Breed is the licensed Safe Place agency for Southwest Missouri. Safe Place is a national youth outreach and prevention program for young people in need of immediate help and safety. As a community-based program, Safe Place designates businesses and organizations as Safe Place locations, making help readily available to youth in communities across the country. Locations include: libraries, YMCA’s, fire stations, public buses, various businesses, and social service facilities. See more at: http://www.nationalsafeplace.org/what-is-safe-place
Safe Place and the Rare Breed provide immediate safety for youth in danger including teens that may have been kicked out of their homes, running away from abuse, or young people escaping gang violence. Whatever the reason a young person needs help, our SafePlace partners know they can call Rare Breed and we will assist the youth as quickly as possible, providing shelter and safety 24 hours-per-day. Young people throughout the area can find safety and connect with resources at any of the following locations:
- City Utilities bus fleet
- All branches of Springfield-Greene County Library
- All Springfield fire stations
- Most McDonald’s stores