FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) Today’s May No Child Go Hungry community spotlight is Fairbanks Youth Advocates (FYA).
Fairbanks Youth Advocates has the capacity to hold 12 at-risk youth. Summers tend to see a spike in youth seeking emergency shelter. (Alex Bengel/KTVF)
FYA is a non-profit organization which provides emergency shelter for at-risk youth in Fairbanks. The organization also provides meals and counseling to youth who stay there.
According to FYA’s Co-Executive Director Alnise Wyles, the shelter receives donations from the Fairbanks Community Food Bank, and sometimes even donates to the food bank when running a surplus of supplies.
“Food is such a staple, and not only do we need it to survive and for nutrition value, but it’s also a comfort,” Wyles said.
She explained that food is an important part of FYA’s relationship with its clients and staff. “One of the first things we ask youth when they come through the door to do intake is ‘Are you hungry? Can we get you something to eat? Can we get you something to drink?’ It just helps ease that nerve and helps them feel at home and feel comforted,” she said.
FYA provides breakfast, lunch and dinner to its clients seven days a week. Wyles said “Food brings people together. It sparks conversation, it sparks joy, and it’s comforting.”
Wyles added that the summer months tend to see a spike in the number of youth seeking services. “Those youth that are having trouble at home are a little bit more apt to come to us in the summer rather than winter, because it’s cold and it’s the unknown,” she said.
The shelter is able to house 12 youth at a time, and according to Wyles, at any given time during the summer, between 9 and 12 clients use it for a place to stay.
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