BranchOut! Boston is excited to partner with a Harvard-affiliated youth shelter organization in Cambridge, which is the nation’s first youth-led homeless shelter. Seeking to support community organizations and promote cultural understanding, the BranchOut! team was drawn to the mission of Y2Y to offer programming to “interrupt the cycle of homelessness for a generation of young adults.” At any time, you can find Y2Y’s facility, which was designed with the goal to make its guests feel safe, warm, and invited, filled with guests, service providers, and student volunteers. The team works to create “sustainable pathways” out of homelessness and help guests develop skills to create successful futures for themselves. Y2Y, also active in New Haven, CT, is a leader in the youth-driven solution to homelessness in the United States. They work towards this solution through advocacy, outreach, and education.
Illustrating how key Y2Y’s work is to supporting youth in the Boston area, their 39 beds make up about half of all youth-specific shelter beds in the Greater Boston Area. Y2Y provides youth experiencing homelessness with more than just a bed; they offer a sense of secureness, resource navigation, medical and mental health care, legal services, job search support, and leadership opportunities. Student volunteers serve 2 meals a day, complete general cleaning duties, rotate laundry, and keep clothing and toiletry supplies stocked.
BranchOut! Boston staff was invited to tour Y2Y’s facility on Friday, May 26th, and meet with Benjamin Gaytan Rios, the Student and Community Manager. Our mission at BranchOut! is to connect our mentors with opportunities to expand their perspective on social issues and deepen their empathy for those with different stories from them. By volunteering at Y2Y, BranchOut! mentors will build connections with guests and fellow volunteers, learn more about youth-homelessness, and help Y2Y create a safe and nurturing environment for young people.
We are thrilled to work with Y2Y and are in the process of developing future volunteer opportunities for our BranchOut! mentors. You can learn more about Y2Y Harvard Square and how to support their mission here. If you are interested in learning more about our BranchOut! Boston chapter, and opportunities to work with community organizations like Y2Y, please learn more about our program and application process here.