It started 45 years ago as an emergency shelter for children. A safe place for kids in unfortunate situations.
Now, Valley Youth House has expanded to a number of different housing programs, including a maternity group home for young women experiencing homelessness, housing for kids in foster care, and a staff of more than 130 counselors who go into homes and schools every day of the week.
Those services haven’t stopped because of COVID-19.
"We've kept our doors open through all this," says Tom Harrington, President of Valley Youth House. "Obviously with kids that are in a shelter or in a residential program, we've had to step up our support to them."
Programs involving counseling for kids and families have gone virtual, but many families don't have computers at home or WiFi access.
And that's where the community steps in. Local developer and producer of mechanical pipe systems, Victaulic refurbished 22 laptops and provided WiFi for families in need. The company has donated a total of 138 laptops since 2015.
“I think if there's a silver lining in this, I've seen that the community at large realizes that there are a lot of families out there in our community, our neighbors, who don't have as much as some of the rest of us do that really need help," says Harrington. "Understanding that half the kids in Allentown don't have a laptop, don't have internet access, that digital divide can impact them for the rest of their lives.”
Watch the full story below for more on programs and services provided by Valley Youth House.