MINNEAPOLIS, MN — February 2, 2015
The Medica Foundation has awarded a $50,000 grant to The Bridge for Youth to support the agency’s Clinical Services Program for sexually exploited youth.
This first-time grant to The Bridge funds a full time therapist position to work with this target population of children ages 10-17. Keesha Greene, a licensed Associate Marriage and Family Therapist with over fifteen years experience working with at-risk youth and populations of color, has accepted the position. As a full-time therapist, Ms. Greene will provide needed case management and counseling services.
“We appreciate this important support from the Medica Foundation,” said Clinical Services and Sexually Exploited Youth Program Manager Denise Williams.
“This funding greatly expands our capacity to identify and intervene with the youth who are at risk for or engaged in commercial sexual exploitation.” said Williams. In the past 10 months, The Bridge has identified and provided service to 85 children in this category.
“It is vital that we build and maintain intentional relationships with these disconnected youth,” said Williams. She noted that many Bridge for Youth clients are 14 or 15 years old. “It is not too late to alter their paths toward healthier lifestyles.”
The Bridge for Youth was founded in 1970 as one of the nation’s first shelters exclusively for youth. The agency opened in response to community concern about the increasing number of girls on the street in Minneapolis’ Cedar-Riverside neighborhood who were vulnerable to prostitution. Today, The Bridge for Youth serves approximately 1000 at-risk youth in its Minneapolis location. 24-hour services include a crisis hotline, emergency and long term youth shelter, and extensive counseling services.