Recently Ross Medical Education Center in Port Huron, Michigan held a toiletry drive for a very special organization in their community called The Harbor. The Harbor has been a resource in St. Clair County since it was founded in 1978, opening as an emergency shelter for homeless youth. In 1981, The Harbor became a program of Comprehensive Youth Services, Inc., and has continued to grow through the years as a valuable community service. The Harbor recognizes that not all at-risk youth require the same needs or services. As a result, The Harbor offers three different programs in an attempt to reach local youth at various stages of risk and crisis: The Harbor Shelter, Cypress Place, and Wings of the Harbor.
The staff and students in Port Huron knew that they wanted to support this community resource in some way; however, The Harbor cannot accept volunteers at their locations due to the need to protect the privacy and safety of the individuals who utilize their services. Instead, the campus conducted a successful toiletry drive in which they were able to collect over 200 toiletries such as shampoo, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, razors, combs, and hairbrushes, to name a few. Once the items were collected, the campus invited Lisa Fecteau of Cypress Place to come and speak to the students regarding The Harbor and its mission. During Lisa’s visit to the campus the staff and students were able to present her with the items they had collected. Lisa was very appreciative and shared how thankful the recipients of the items would be, as it helps them to feel safe and cared for.
While on campus, Lisa took time to speak with the students about the three different locations in Port Huron and passionately explained what services each location provides to the community. She began by explaining that Cypress Place is a drop-in center for young people ages 12-21 that provides a safe and positive setting for youth to socialize and hang-out. Cypress Place also provides crisis intervention, counseling, nourishment, educational support, case management, laundry facilities, showers, hygiene products, and follow-up services.
Lisa then talked about The Harbor which offers crisis intervention, support service such as food and clothing, individual counseling, family and group counseling, family resolution, case management, aftercare counseling, and follow-up services. This facility offers youth a stable environment where they can reside up to three weeks.
The third facility is Wings of the Harbor, which is a transitional living program that provides help with building positive relationships, developing life skills for independence, obtaining employment and housing, completing educational programs, and health related needs. Services at this facility are available for 18 months for youth ages 16-21 who are homeless or potentially homeless. Lisa shared that homelessness looks different than what one might assume. Many of the kids are “couch surfing” and live wherever they can, having no place to call home. Wings of the Harbor offers shelter, basic needs, skills training, and support services.
The staff, faculty, and students at Ross Medical Education Center of Port Huron were grateful they were given the opportunity to provide basic hygiene necessities for those individuals utilizing The Harbor’s resources and expressed their desire to continue to support The Harbor in the future.