I am pleased to share the Community Foundation’s Youth Network Initiative (YOU’N-I) recently concluded. The Eddy House has taken over RenoYouthNetwork.com (RYN) administration, a database of free resources for youth who are homeless or struggling.
During our community convenings in 2013 and 2014, many youth, ages 12 – 24, shared they did not know what resources were available or how to find them.
They needed a comprehensive and up-to-date resource guide.
Without youth’s participation, we would not have been able to create RYN.com. After a beta version of the site was created, youth tested the site in person with the web developer and shared feedback. RYN launched in September 2014. From 2014 – 2017, Community Foundation VISTAs conducted extensive outreach to inform youth and anyone who might interact with this struggling young population about RYN.
Youth also stated during our community convenings that they needed one place to go for help.
After the convening, Lynette Eddy, founder of Eddy House, knew that she could create a drop-in center and explored drop-in youth centers in other communities.
In March 2015, I joined Lynette and other community advocates in “This Is Homelessness” to experience homelessness on Reno’s streets for three days. We talked to many struggling youth to inform them about the soon-to-be-open drop-in center and asked them what they would want to see at the center.
As the Eddy House opened and began serving more youth, RYN went into a maintenance stage. Staff still monitored site metrics, called resources to verify their information was up to date, and continued outreach, but the heavy lifting was complete.
Eddy House greatly expanded from 2016 – 2020. In January 2020, Eddy House moved from the drop-in resource center on 6th Street into a 16,000 square foot facility. They expanded their services to 24 hours with overnight opportunities to get youth off the street as well. In 2020 they served 570 youth and had 6,799 interactions with youth. One Eddy House Community Living participant recently shared:
“Eddy House saved me… It’s a place you can come to if you don’t have a place to go, and you don’t have to watch your back.”
As our community work increased with the Caregiver Support Initiative, Village on Sage Street, and Preventing Financial Scams initiative, it became clear that a successor was needed to take over RYN administration. Eddy House seemed like the best success for RYN.
Chris Askin and Nick Tscheekar met with Eddy House leadership in fall 2020 to discuss a possible RYN transition and quickly received an enthusiastic, “yes, we’ll do it!”
The site has now been transferred to Eddy House and rebranded. Gilly Quinn, Eddy House Marketing Director, is now managing RYN and said:
Eddy House is extremely excited to take over the Reno Youth Network website. We will be able to give this resource to every youth in our program, and those our Outreach team will extend the service into the community. We will be able to tell from this website what are the most significant needs by popular search terms. That will help us make sure those resources are available.
The Community Foundation and Eddy House did not know what to expect when we held our first convening in 2013. And that was by design. Without expectations, we listened to youth and learned that they needed a resource guide and one place to go for help. The Community Foundation and Eddy House grew and developed solutions, all with youth guidance at the table.
The Community Foundation takes a long-term approach. We bring people together, develop solutions, and review results to determine our impact. Our initiatives ultimately lead up to transferring our work to another organization to create long-lasting change. With Eddy House now leading RYN, we can address other critical issues in Northern Nevada to strengthen our community.
Visit nevadafund.org to learn more about the Community Foundation initiative process or contact Nick Tscheekar, Community Engagement Officer at 775-333-5488 ex 14 to explore ways you can become involved. There is a seat at the table waiting for you!