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Wellness Center for at-risk youth opens in St. Louis thanks to $75K donation

"The Wellness Center has created a space of sanctuary on our campus"
Credit: Covenant House Missouri

ST. LOUIS — Covenant House Missouri has opened its newly renovated Wellness Center thanks to a $75,000 donation from a local family foundation.  

Previously, the space had a very limited capacity and wasn’t a good environment for mental and physical health services, according to a news release.

The nonprofit shelter welcomes people ages 16-24 who have been runaways, trafficked, are at-risk or experiencing homelessness with “unconditional love, absolute respect and a place to call home."

Beyond basic needs, the shelter helps people build independent and sustainable lives and an important piece of that path includes access to quality health and wellness services, the release said.

More than one in three young people who come to Covenant House have mental health issues or diagnosis.

“The Wellness Center has created a space of sanctuary on our campus,” said CEO, Jessica Erfling. “Thanks to the generosity of a local family foundation, young people living here can access quality mental, physical and emotional health services in a welcoming and loving space.”

Several months ago, the shelter recognized the need to upgrade its existing clinic to better serve young people in need of wellness services. Plans were underway for the new space when the pandemic hit.

RELATED: St. Louis homeless youth facility feels impact of coronavirus pandemic

After learning of the shelter's rise in the demand for services, a representative from a local family foundation felt “especially called to the opportunity to provide an accommodating space for essential mental and physical health services for young people.”

After reviewing Covenant House’s proposal, the foundation found its values aligned with the mission and awarded funding for the Wellness Center project.

“It is obvious to our family that Covenant House Missouri is positioned to be a leader in our community for offering fully inclusive services to our at-risk youth. Their results-driven processes continue to create positive outcomes for our young people. It is more clear than ever that those of us who can, need to step up and shore up these efforts. We hope that with our commitment to stand behind Covenant House, its mission, its leadership, its team and its community, others will see the incredible potential of Covenant House Missouri and support them in creating a lasting and meaningful impact for the young people of our region,” the family foundation representative said.

Read more about the Wellness Center on the Covenant House Missouri website.

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