Homeless youth in the Colorado Springs community getting a helping hand from a local organization.
The street Outreach team at Urban Peak met up with more than 550 teens on the street last year, their mission to get them on a better path.
Urban Peak last year actually turned about 40 teens away last year because they didn’t have room.
Now ahead of their biggest annual fundraiser, one young man who went through the program shares how it truly turned his life around.
“Toward the end of high school I ended up just being out on my own,” said former homeless teen Josh Santa Maria. “I ended up on the street, I was bouncing from house to house, staying at parks whatever I can.”
He left home to get out of a bad situation. About two years ago, Josh Santa Maria had nowhere else to go.
“Sometimes in the winter, I slept underneath in an abandon train road tracks. It was cold, I couldn’t sleep and that was one of the worse nights, and I have had a lot of those nights similar to that,” said Santa Maria. “It’s hard out here. Especially with the crimes and the drugs that happen and just to be around that negative energy constantly.”
He felt like he reached a dead end, but then a new door opened. He found a safe place to go at Urban Peak an organization for homeless youth.
“I found Urban Peak, well they kind of found me,” said Santa Maria. “I was skeptical, how they were going to help me out.”
He said he even got kicked out of the program and went to jail but his case managers never gave up on him.
“It’s just good to have those kind of people in your life, especially when there is not a lot of positive people around you,” Santa Maria said. “If there wasn’t a program, I’d probably still be in this situation.”
Now he’s one month into a lease on a new apartment and scored a job interview, and encourages people to give back to help others find their home.
Thursday morning Urban Peak is having their Off The Street breakfast, which is expected to have a record turn out.
Usually non-profit fundraisers are in a fancy hotel or ball room the Off The Street Breakfast by Urban Peak is under a bridge. They know its a little bit of a different setting for a fundraiser, but it’s a taste of reality for those attending because they say it’s a spot where a homeless teen might sleep.
Their hope is to raise money for a new Drop-in Center believing they’ll be able to reach more youth that way.
“Where we can actually have a place where youth can come get a shower, do their laundry, find our about jobs, and education, things like that and get medical help if they need it. Those are the kind of things we want to be able to offer,” said Andy Petersen Urban Peak.
They don’t know where its going to be yet, but a First United Methodist made a donation for some seed money and they are looking for other donors to help fund the Drop-in Center.
Even though spots to attend the event are full you can always donate here.