Youth Villages stories

youth with new set of clothes

Partnering with Cradles to Crayons to help young people in need

Jun 4, 2024 | Blog, Community Engagement

With inflation at an all-time high and the cost of items like food, clothing and housing skyrocketing, many families are struggling to meet their basic needs. Very often, we see families and young adults making difficult decisions, like paying the electric bill instead of buying food for the week. These tough choices can make already overloaded families feel even more overwhelmed and burdened by the stress of remaining afloat.

At Youth Villages, we help connect young people and families to every available resource in their community to help alleviate some of the added stress they carry. We are incredibly lucky to partner with multiple organizations throughout the year to provide basic needs to our youth and families. One organization that has been particularly helpful in providing these items to our youth and families is our partner, Cradles to Crayons.

Cradles to Crayons is a nonprofit organization with the mission to provide every child with the essentials they need to feel valued. We have partnered with Cradles to Crayons for the last few years to provide the youth we serve with clothing and shoes, coats, diapers and baby wipes, school supplies, hygiene items and books. Our Intercept family intervention specialists and LifeSet specialists work with youth and families to determine what items are most needed and what would be most beneficial to them. Whether it is a family whose 9-year-old son needs new clothes for school, or a young mom who needs diapers for her newborn, Cradles to Crayons is there to help provide these necessary items to help ensure the youth we serve can meet their basic needs. We work with Cradles to Crayons monthly to request items for our youth in need and when it is time to make those requests, the volume is high.

LifeSet participant with her newborn and clothes supported by Holiday Heroes

For young people like Linnea, the monthly Cradles to Crayons requests are extremely beneficial. Linnea is a 19-year-old single mother in our LifeSet program who is struggling financially. Through the partnership with Youth Villages and Cradles to Crayons, Linnea can request diapers and wipes for her baby, new clothing, hygiene items such as toothpaste and body wash and more. This assistance allows Linnea to allocate funds toward her rent, electricity and grocery bills, helping to eliminate additional stress.

According to Cradles to Crayons, lack of proper clothing is one of the top 10 reasons kids miss school. They are also more likely to miss medical appointments and social outings, creating significant short- and long-term social and economic deficits. Assistance from organizations like Cradles to Crayons helps the youth in our programs feel more confident and helps in motivating them to go to school each day.

Michael, a youth in our Intercept program, was bullied for wearing the same thing to school on a consistent basis. Now, he receives new clothing every month from Cradles to Crayons. He has access to well-known, high-quality brands and is excited to go to school and to be out with his friends.

Partnerships with organizations like Cradles to Crayons are so important for our young people and you can get involved on an individual level as well. If you are interested in supporting our young people and helping the youth in our programs, email to learn more about how you can get involved. Some of our upcoming opportunities are:

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