TUCSON, Ariz. - - The charity Youth On Their Own helps teenagers succeed in this world even if they have no parents in their lives or a steady place to live.
Now the organization is closing its thrift shop. Closing the shop highlights the real story---more students using the help Youth On Their Own provides.
The thrift store for Youth On Their Own sells home furnishings to help homeless youth. But soon Youth On Their Own will close this store.
The organization will give up the modest income because it needs the space badly for a surge in teens that need help---up 350 percent in the last eight years.
Youth On Their Own supplies teens with food, and helps them focus on studies. Many hold down jobs to pay for apartments missing parents don't provide.
CEO Nicola Hartmann says, "Sometimes there's violence or abuse in the home and they just can't be there anymore. Parental incarceration. Parents who are involved with drugs and alcohol who just aren't present or reliable."
Jose Chua is one of 1700 students at Youth on Their Own. With the organization's help he's at University of Arizona in his first year in electrical engineering.
"I was just couch-hopping basically.”
KGUN9 reporter Craig Smith asked: “And the program helped you do what?”
Chua: “They helped me have enough food, and they gave me enough money to buy myself some clothes."
And with the need expanding, Youth On Their Own is hoping to be able to build a new building nearby.
The Youth On Their Own Home Store is just south of Pima and Alvernon. It will be open 10am to 5pm Wednesday through Saturday until it closes permanently May 12th