Pathfinders Drop-In Center is Milwaukee's first Drop-In Center for runaway and homeless youth. Opened in 2010, the Center offers food, hygiene and laundry facilities, health and risk reduction resources, computer access, job supports, educational and community programming, and case management for youth aged 15-25. Since 1970, Pathfinders has provided licensed, caring therapists, expert counselors, and dedicated adults who have worked with young people in a nurturing, compassionate environment to ensure better tomorrows. More than 600 youth are homeless every night in Milwaukee. Hundreds of others are one step away from getting arrested or being expelled from school. Whether they have a bed to sleep in at night or are living on the streets, the youth we serve struggle with many of the same issues. Many come from dysfunctional families and have chaotic home lives. Their experiences include sexual abuse, neglect, drug addiction, mental health problems and unplanned pregnancy. Still others fall into crisis as they leave the safety net of the foster care system or deal with family reaction to their emerging sexual orientation. To many in the community, these youth are invisible - out of sight and out of mind - until they cross the line. With nowhere to turn, they are at risk for resorting to prostitution or drug dealing for basic needs like food and shelter. Some lack self-control, lashing out in anger at a teacher, a fellow student or even a loved one, and ultimately end up in the juvenile justice system or at risk of being expelled from school. Pregnant and parenting teens lack parenting skills, and their children are at risk of abuse and neglect. Over the past four decades Pathfinders has brought safety, hope, and healing to thousands of young people and families. Our programs represent some of the most comprehensive youth services available in Wisconsin, designed to protect youth and young adults and their families who are dealing with homelessness, family problems, mental health issues, sexual abuse, teen pregnancy, alcohol and drug addictions, juvenile delinquency, and educational needs. Our family-centered, strengths-based programs provide a continuum of services for youth at little or no cost; the vast majority of our clients are low-income. From basic shelter to one-on-one counseling, we help them build the skills they need to succeed at home, at school and in the community. Our services are designed to protect youth and young adults, strengthen individuals and families, and improve the emotional and mental health of people at risk in our community.
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