Infants/Babies (under age 5)
The Strengthening Families Program is a voluntary program to help at-risk families build resilience and navigate difficulties in the areas of parenting, money management, job readiness and healthy relationships.
This short term service (3-6 months) increases self-sufficiency of families, reduces the need for children to be removed to out-of-home placements, like foster care, and breaks the cycle that leads youth to need our youth transition services later in life. We believe family can mean many things; from teenage parents to grandparents raising grandchildren, we offer a relational, strength-based approach that empowers families to make positive changes in their lives.
Our services include but are not limited to the following: parent coaching, child safety, family activities, career building, money management and addressing holistic well-being. The primary purpose of all of our services is to keep families intact through family strengthening or family reunification. Families who qualify for services are matched with a transition facilitator, whose job is to walk alongside families on the road to self-sufficiency.
In 2017, we worked with 377 families in our Strengthening Families Program. These families included families who received one-on-one coaching, family advocate services, and caregiver support for foster families.
"Without The Matthews House I would probably be living in a car, addicted to drugs, without my children or a future to look forward to. Instead we live as a family in a loving home and have an amazing future ahead of us. I am a survivor." - Parent Participant
Infants/Babies (under age 5)
Adolescents/Youth (13-19 years)
The primary goal of our Family Services at the Community Life Centers (CLCs) is to prevent families from falling into crisis by providing side-by-side, ongoing supportive services, system navigation, and proactive parenting education. These services are designed for sustainable impact beyond the length of the services. The CLCs have Transition Facilitators who assist families in pursuing vocational education, sustainable and safe housing, parenting support, financial budgeting, creating community connections and developing support networks. All family services at the CLCs are voluntary and open to the community.
The primary goal of our Education program at our Community Life Centers is to improve students' intellectual capacity, social ability, and employability. We develop and maintain an active network of educational partnerships and collaborations with local colleges, service agencies, and volunteers. We house several educational programs, all free of cost, including after school programming for elementary and middle school students, entry-level restaurant industry training for youth, and English as a second language (ESL) classes for adults.
Recreation is an important aspect of a healthy family and a healthy community. Our goal at our Community Life Centers is to create positive recreational opportunities, accessible for individuals and families of all abilities, socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. We strive to break down barriers in order for families to access needed services by providing meaningful, hands-on learning opportunities for their children while they attend classes, meetings and groups and to connect them to volunteers and community members in order to strengthen their support system. We offer recreation opportunities to children, adults and whole families. We regularly offer dance programs, including Zumba, and pickup basketball. As with our Education and Family Services, Recreational programming at the CLCs is open to the public and completely free of charge.
"The Matthews House is an amazing community. They have helped me to realize that not everyone out there is going to harm you, there are people who truly care about you. Over the last year so much has changed in my life for the better. I have excelled at things I never thought possible. I have a great job, a safe place for me and [child] to live and we are building a new life together. One that I know is only going to get even better!" - Community Life Center Participant (Domestic Violence Survivor)
From 2016 to 2017, the Building Community Program grew substantially, serving 34% more families with virtually no outreach efforts. This growth was nearly all referral-based from teachers, counselors, and past participants. This growth came from those who have witnessed the Building Community Program in action and referred others to our services for help. The total people served in 2017 is 2,700.
"I have been blessed with unconditional love at this café (one of our Building Community programs)!
No one judges anything I say about my life. This is my family!" - Parent Café participant
Female Youth/Adolescents (14 - 19 years)
Male Youth/Adolescents (14 - 19 years)
Young Adults (20-25 years)
Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)
The Matthews House is a 501(c)3 organization that serves at-risk youth ages 14-21 who lack significant family support in their lives, by creating opportunities for positive life changes. These youth frequently have not had the influence of a stable caring adult and many are or have been part of the foster care system or have been involved in the juvenile justice system. They often do not have the necessary competencies to proactively manage their physical and mental health needs and their social and relational conditions. Once they turn 18, few governmental and community resources remain available to them, leaving them facing adulthood without the skills necessary for living independently, including retaining a job, solving problems, managing money and building solid relationships. Without such skills, many will re-enter the justice or human service systems as adults.
The Matthews House focuses on five main areas to help these youth on the road to self-sufficiency. These areas are: 1) Safe and Affordable Housing, 2) Physical & Mental Health, 3) Employment, 4) Education, and 5) Independent Living & Social Skills. In addition to these skills and perhaps most importantly, each youth is surrounded with a community of support, including an adult mentor.
The Matthews House strives to fill the current gap in services for at-risk youth transitioning to adulthood by providing the resources and support necessary to empower these youth to take control of their lives, shape positive futures for themselves and become successful contributors to their community.
Current programs and activities:
- Independent Living and Interpersonal Skills Instruction to teach skills needed for the transition to self-sufficient living. These include Cooking and Nutrition, Money Management, Anger Management, Career Development, Employment Readiness, Relationship Skills, Life Mapping, Parenting Skills, Substance Abuse and Prevention, and Health Education.
- Transition Facilitation to implement positive life changes and develop social skills and problem-solving abilities. Transition facilitators are Bachelor level social workers focusing on one-on-one work with youth.
- Chafee Foster Care Independence Program, a federally funded grant administered by the Matthews House with a focus on 5 competency areas: Employment, Money Management, Household Management, Community Resources and Personal Skills for youth aged 16-21 who are involved in and aging out of foster care.
- One-to-One Mentoring to promote self-esteem, positive mental health, and to offer modeling and reinforcement in the application of independent living skills.
- Professional Counseling, Addiction Counseling, and Psychotherapy to develop and sustain positive mental health.
- Experiential Education Opportunities to develop leadership, resiliency and team building skills through activities such as backpacking trips, rock climbing, canoeing, hiking, challenge courses, music, art, theater, and gardening.
- Pro Social Activities such as monthly dinners, girls and guys groups, Improv groups, sporting events, and community activities to create a sense of belonging.
- Character First, a national program to develop and incorporate character development in daily living.
- Youth Leadership Team to provide a space for continued leadership development, youth participatory evaluation of the ongoing programs of the Matthews House, and community volunteerism.
In 2017, we worked with 196 youth. Of those 196 youth, 95% could identify at least three healthy, sustainable supports, 87% had school attendance rates equal to or greater than the district average, 76% acquired a job within 6 months, 90% increased their knowledge of independent living and social skills, 71% abstained from substance abuse, and 84% remained in safe housing.