Since the onset of Marin’s COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in March, the AHO Youth Leadership Team, comprised of homeless and sex-trafficked youth ages 16 to 25, served by Ambassadors of Hope and Opportunity (AHO), a 16 year old Mill Valley nonprofit organization, have been busy creating and launching three new projects to address the pandemic.
The first project, their COVID-19 Youth Rescue Kit, was designed to help protect the over 200 youth AHO serves yearly who are homeless. The AHO Youth Rescue Kit includes face masks for protection, hand sanitizer, antiseptic wipes, gloves, an oximeter, Safeway card and toilet paper.
Their second project, the AHO Face Mask Challenge, was designed to create ‘COVID-19 safety awareness’ for the Marin community, youth in need, and professionals in the field with the goal of ‘going viral’. To date over 100 people have participated including Sammy Hagar, Carlos Santana’s Milagro Foundation and Lionel Shaw, CEO of the EACH Foundation, all longtime supporters of AHO.
You too can join in the fun and help support homeless youth’s Face Mask Challenge by sending a headshot photo of you wearing a face mask to firstname.lastname@example.org
A third project, is their best-practice webinar, “5 Proven Strategies for Developing Post-COVID- 19 Relevance and Sustainability for your Nonprofit/Organization” was begun in January and revised to meet the issues the pandemic has raised. This webinar will launch statewide in mid- June to the 300 members of the CA Coalition for Youth (CCY), one of AHO’s Alliance for Youth partners in Sacramento. AHO’s Alliance for Youth is a 165-member network of professionals, businesses, faith communities and organizations that AHO brokers with for pro-bono support for its youth and organization.
This Alliance has allowed AHO to continue to pro-actively and comprehensively serve its 200 homeless and sex-trafficked youth ages 16 to 25 with immediate on-call emergency doctors, dentists, trauma therapists and financial coaches at the onset of the pandemic, and ongoing. The information in the webinar is designed help other nonprofits prepare now, for the post pandemic era, by learning how they too can begin creating a similar Alliance to serve their youth and organization.
In AHO’s continuing effort to stay ahead of the impact of the current health crisis, where 85% of our youth have lost jobs, healthcare and ability to pay rent, there is an ever greater need for the information shared in the webinar. Participants will learn how to build a strong network of pro bono community businesses, professional and faith community businesses, professionals and faith community partners to create a sustainable organization, as funding from longtime partners, due to the pandemic, is either on hold, or completely lost.
AHO’s Alliance for Youth partners have helped AHO cover youth’s cell phone bills, the monies to provide a $500 rent check paid directly to a vetted landlord when the Marin Board of Supervisors rental moratorium ends on May 31st, motel stays, laptops, grocery gift cards from Safeway and Target and fast-tracking youth into ‘essential’ employment with our Alliance partners that include Target, Starbucks, Whole Foods, Safeway and Toscalito Tire.
Since AHO’s inception 16 years ago, AHO has operated without local, state or federal funding. The youth AHO serves do not fit into the funding streams for foster youth or mentally ill youth and has relied on the private sector of community organizations, businesses, foundations and individuals to support its mission. AHO longtime ongoing contributors include the Donald O. & Ronald R. Collins Fund at MCF, Fritz Bathlet Fund @ MCF, Isabel Allende Foundation, EACH Foundation, Milagro Foundation, Hagar Family Foundation, Vic and Corrine Rice Family Trust, Mary Kent Schardt Trust and Dominican Sisters of San Rafael.
The mission of Ambassadors of Hope and Opportunity is to provide a “safety net” of stable housing, guidance and community connections for previously abused, abandoned and/or sex- trafficked Marin County young adults, ages 16 to 25, who are not supported through the government funding streams for foster youth, juvenile services or mentally ill youth.