July 06, 2020

YES to YOUTH Surpasses $4 Million in Shelter Expansion Fundraising Goal

Yes to Youth Shelter Expansion THE WOODLANDS, Texas - YES to YOUTH, formerly named the Montgomery County Youth Services, is pleased to announce that its current SAY YES fundraising initiative has raised more than $4 million of the targeted $4.2 goal. All monies raised are saving and impacting the lives of local youth in need at the BridgeWay Residential Emergency Shelter.

The SAY YES capital expansion project expands the BridgeWay Campus with two new cottages, one resident facility for girls, and one facility for boys. Both cottages have bedrooms and bathrooms for 15, a family room, a small dining room, and kitchenette, a meeting room, and offices. This project will also construct a covered walkway between each of the campus buildings.

With the community's support, YES to YOUTH has also been able to purchase three more acres of land for future expansion.

Once BridgeWay opens the cottages in August, YES to YOUTH will renovate, expand, and enhance the current shelter facility into a multi-use main facility. This expanded facility will have a dining hall that seats 70 and a commercial kitchen, space for life skills, tutoring, computer access, recreation, and resident gatherings, a nursing area for physicals, meeting rooms, and staff offices.

YES to YOUTH board members eat dinner once a month with residents in the dining hall, and volunteers and guests regularly visit to play board and card games or sports activities like basketball with residents. YES to YOUTH expects to complete the multi-use building by January 2021.

"Fundraising consultants initially advised our organization that it would take 3-5 years to raise the $4.2 million that BridgeWay needs for shelter expansion,” said Dannette Suding, chief executive officer for YES to YOUTH. "Our campaign kicked off publicly in February 2019. In under 16 months, we are so close to reaching our goal to help all of the at-risk youth in our area. Our generous donors and our fundraising leadership team made this happen. It's a huge accomplishment!"

A decade ago, YES to YOUTH volunteer Patti Rivela recognized the tremendous need for this shelter expansion. Every year, BridgeWay has had to turn away over 1,000 youth from the shelter due to lack of space.

As the visionary chairperson of the SAY YES capital campaign committee, Rivela has witnessed the dedication of those in this community to make this building project a reality. Donors have hosted a lemonade stand to contribute a small gift to BridgeWay, and anonymous philanthropists have made enormous contributions.

Rivela, along with members of the SAY YES fundraising team, worked tirelessly to seek help from the local community to house teen boys and girls in separate buildings finally. With the two new cottages opening in August, YES to YOUTH can now better serve our area's at-risk youth, especially those who have been victims of sexual abuse and human trafficking.

"Our generous supporters have recognized the need to support our area's abused, homeless, neglected, and sex-trafficked youth," said Rivela. "But the need is still so great. We all need to stand up for our 10 to 18-year-old youth who have been abandoned, are lost, are blameless, and in need of healing."

The SAY YES capital campaign committee members continue to raise funds to double the campus' capacity. The campaign only needs about $163,000 to complete the expansion.

Opportunities still exist to support the completion of the two new cottages by naming a room after a loved one. YES to YOUTH will be erecting a donor wall in the completed multi-use building to recognize anyone who donates over $1,000. Any donation amount to the SAY YES campaign does make a difference.

For your chance to give to the SAY YES Shelter Expansion, visit SayYesToYouth.org. To watch the SAY YES campaign announcement made on June 23, 2020, visit our Facebook.

Once the construction is complete for all of the campus’ expansion, YES to YOUTH will host an open house. Within the next year, engraved bricks for a pathway will be available to support the BridgeWay campus.

Celebrating 41 years of service to Montgomery County youth and their families, YES to YOUTH offers:
To host a basic needs drive, volunteer for one of their events, provide dinner or participate in a project, visit SayYesToYouth.org

YES to YOUTH's mission seeks to strengthen youth and families' emotional and mental health by providing crisis intervention, counseling, and suicide prevention services. By providing a safe and nurturing home, at-risk youth who have been abused, battered, sex-trafficked, or are homeless, can begin to heal from the past and become empowered for the future. To learn more about YES to YOUTH, Montgomery County Youth Services, a 501(c)3 organization, visit SayYesToYouth.org or call (281) 292-6471.

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