We have been greeted with nothing less than open arms upon arriving in Utah. The landscape here is a reward upon every turn along the road. Snowcapped mountains and warm people surround Salt Lake City. We are so excited to give back to this beautiful place.
We arrived at the Youth Resource Center with some anxiety. They serve approximately 800 teens per year. It is hard to imagine teens between the ages of 15-22 years old on the streets. We have been so fortunate in our lives to have the upbringing and family love we have had. When we pulled up there was a teen sitting outside sadly waiting the doors to open. (We have decided to not post photos of anyone using the center as a respect to their privacy).
After buzzing the door, we were welcomed inside to help with breakfast. They gave us a short tour of the center. The Center will be moving to a new building soon so they are making it work with the small space they have now. Clients must use the front door when coming in so they can be screened. Here they can pick up toiletries they need. They are allowed to do laundry, use the computers, and shower on one side of the partition. On the other side of the partition is the lounge where they serve meals and can hang out. They have breakfast every day from 9:15-10 a.m. There are no exceptions if they come in late. The Center tries to instill some discipline into their schedules.
Today, we were in charge of helping to cook breakfast. Mel made the pancakes and I made hash browns while one of the employees cooked the eggs.
The center usually has about 20 people for breakfast. Most of the food is donated as well as clothing and toiletries. When it was time to serve, it was gloomy to see the 10-15 teens spread out napping on the floor or waiting for some food. A sense of loneliness they must feel consumed my heart. It is a blessing this place exists as their safe place. Volunteers of America as well as AmeriCorps help keep this necessary operation afloat. They have yoga, movies, and career counseling as well, to give these displaced kids something to do and have a sense of guidance. We helped clean up and all but one pancake was eaten (Mel may have burnt one, oops). As kids do, they made quite a mess! While we cleaned, we got the inside scoop from the employees who told us what to do around town from hiking, to floating in the lake and good eats. They were spot on!