Friday, February 11, 2011


It’s not often that I have time to sit down at work, much less to pause and reflect on providing services to over 1,000 teens, young mothers, and children in the seven years I’ve worked at Alternative House. But today is a quiet day, even though our teen shelter is full, our HYI program was featured on Channel 7 this week, and our young mothers are searching for jobs in a tough market.

I started at Alternative House just before September 11th, 2001. Working first as an overnight counselor in the teen shelter and later as a primary counselor, I worked directly with hundreds of teens who are now rapidly approaching their 30’s: the young woman who recognized me at a restaurant where she worked years later and excitedly filled me in on the years and events that had passed; the teen who had dropped out of school and stopped by the shelter a year later to say that she had re-enrolled in school nearby; the young woman who joined our Youth Advisory Council after her stay at the shelter in order to pass her knowledge and experience on to benefit others. These stories and more convinced me that obtaining a graduate degree in social work would be the best way to continue supporting at-risk youth.

I returned to Alternative House’s Assisting Young Mothers Program as program coordinator to become part of more stories: the young mother-to-be who was hired for a job only eight days after moving into our program; the toddler who learned how to speak and began to laugh after finally having a safe and stable place to live; the young mother who graduated the program and was hired by AYM as a staff member; the young woman who is still in touch with staff years after graduating, who invites me to attend her daughter’s birthday parties each year. After becoming director of residential services, I was glad to be able to maintain connections with clients while gaining additional responsibilities.

With the addition of our newest program last year, the Homeless Youth Initiative, I am sure that more memories of client successes will follow. I look forward to them!

Meghan Huebner
Director Residential Services