By Kathy Westmoreland – Youth Services Coordinator
It is strange to sit in Rare Breed Youth Outreach Center during COVID 19 guidelines as the building is never this quiet. Youth are still coming in and receiving services, but our buzz is a little bit quieter these days. It gives me a moment to pause and reflect on all the shifts, challenges, and wins that this program has seen over the course of twenty years. Countless youth have walked through our doors seeking assistance and they have all brought their own story. The one thing that I can say I have learned in my time here is that there is no one true face of youth homelessness, no one story that brings them here, but support can make all of the difference in their outcome.
Rare Breed Youth Outreach Center has been blessed over the last twenty years with incredible support from our community, donors, and volunteers. From hot meals to art classes, the volume of care and compassion provided to our youth by the local community could never be measured, but the outcomes have been incredible. We could not do the work that we do without your help. Thank you.
The Meaning Behind “Rare Breed’
I have been told that, when Rare Breed began, the youth chose the name because they are exactly that: a Rare Breed of individuals. They are often misunderstood, but so eager to define themselves and overcome old labels. Give them a few moments, and they will tell you exactly who they are. They have an incredible ability to speak their story from a place of compassion and understanding. For twenty years now, Rare Breed Staff have been offering these youth assistance in any way possible, even if all we do is sit and listen. Alumni youth still return to the building, asking about old staff, excited to share how well they are doing. So often, just in my time here, I have heard “The Breed saved my life.”
To provide services to our youth, Rare Breed has had to innovate, recreate, and reformat consistently to meet the ever-shifting needs of this community. Our youth have experienced highs and lows right along with us and even now, with COVID 19 bringing changes to how we provide services, they have followed right along, working with staff to ensure that we follow required guidelines to stay open.
A Note from The Staff
The staff of the Rare Breed Youth Outreach Center are so pleased to honor the memories created here and recognize that we are part of a greater whole. The work that we do is not always seen, many outcomes will come later, and often, we do not get to know the end-result. In this building, we honor everything that they are and everything they wish to be. For so many, we are a moment in their lives, and we hope that we do our best with the time given.
It is a high honor to play a part in the legacy that is Rare Breed Youth Services, its history, and its future. Thank you again for supporting the youth of Springfield.