Focus on Teens offers a holistic approach to reach teens at the early stages of homelessness. We are proud to be the only program in North Texas that helps provide a Drop In Center for homeless teens on high school campuses, plus the umbrella of additional social services (our four Core Programs).
Focus on Teens offers a holistic approach to reach teens at the early stages of homelessness. We are proud to be the only program in North Texas that helps provide a Drop In Center for homeless teens on high school campuses available to any school, FoT also offers five core program focus areas for teens, parents and teachers: Emergency Food and Supplies (we serve 23 schools in the Dallas and Ft. Worth ISDs, currently) or a Drop IN Center / Pantry (we have 24 in Dallas and Ft. Worth ISDs, currently), Drug Abuse Prevention and Awareness, Suicide Prevention, Healthy Living (a Mental Health Awareness Seminar) and our “Get Started” Mentoring – Intern Program. Our programs are flexible and developed in conjunction with both the individual student’s and school’s needs.
Need for Focus on Teens
According to statistics provided by DISD, there are at least 5,000 known homeless adolescents within their programs and 3,000 in FW ISD. Because homeless adolescents tend not to self-identify FoT and the Homeless Education Program have found that bringing a Drop In Center to schools, where a student can visit at their own discretion for coffee, donuts, breakfast and a conversation, has helped to raise awareness on campuses of student issues while communicating to students there is an in school resource that can assist them with their basic needs.
The homeless teen crisis is directly connected to the overall issue of adult homelessness. Studies have shown that homeless teens, aged 12 to 17, are more likely than their peers to become homeless adults. Yet, the year to year data suggests that the current methodologies to reduce teen homelessness are not working. FoT believes that a fresh, Comprehensive, Collaborative and Innovative approach must be established if the volume of homeless individuals is to be reduced. Our program provides this solution by providing core services to homeless teens that reduce their likelihood of becoming homeless adults.
The development of Focus on Teens originated with Patton Chapman and Keith Price. Both men previously held the management positions at Austin Street Center, Dallas’ largest adult homeless shelter that averages 400 individuals per night.
Patton Chapman, as Director of Development, was responsible for communicating the vital mission of the Center to the general public. This communication was part of a new marketing initiative for the Center as they underwent a reevaluation of their mission and program strategy. Mr. Chapman used his many years of experience in Banking, Real Estate Development and Acquisition, Finance and Deployment of Capital, and Marketing to ensure that the message was not only communicated, but that each dollar donated was utilized in the most beneficial and economical manner possible. During his time with the agency, Austin Street Center was able to provide the full range of basic needs and social services to its clients for approximately 84 cents of every dollar provided.
Keith Price held various Sales and Marketing Management positions in the Consumer Products Industry for 33+ years. At the conclusion of his for-profit career, Mr. Price took a position as an on-call volunteer at The Stewpot, a homeless advocacy center. Mr. Price held many positions within the organization, both volunteer and compensated. This experience allowed him to become involved in all levels of nonprofit management and strategy. Three years into his tenure as a volunteer, Price was recommended and appointed unanimously to the Executive Director’s position at the Austin Street Center.
Having developed a genuine compassion for the unfortunate, Mr. Price realized that simple shelter, though important, was not enough to provide true long-term, measurable results. Upon his appointment to the ED position, a full Social Services program was immediately initiated and implemented. Mr. Price’s past business experience of meeting established goals was the genesis for creating a comprehensively compassionate atmosphere for the clients while also implementing structured results oriented programs.
By working together and utilizing both sets of business acumen, Mr. Chapman and Mr. Price worked to fully understand the magnitude of the needs of the homeless. Their dedication to gaining this understanding led to unprecedented metrics for the Center. In the last year of tenure, 600+ clients left the shelter for a better life and less than one percent returned.