Serving youth, ages 11 and older, Chase Home was recently awarded $2,500 from Portsmouth Elks Lodge #97 to support its Independent Living Program (ILP) for older teens. Within the program, youth (ages 18 to 21) live as adults and receive comprehensive therapeutic and clinical supports.
According to Chase Home Executive Director Meme Wheeler, the primary objective of the program is to help youth successfully make the transition to adulthood. “We provide them with the tools and resources they need to succeed as adults,” she said. “We help position them for long-term success.”
For Sharon Curcio of Portsmouth Elks Lodge #97, the opportunity to invest in Chase Home aligned with their interest in supporting vulnerable populations. Noting she took a tour of the home with Wheeler, she said she was immediately drawn to their mission.
“The idea that these youth would have nowhere else to go after their time here did not sit well with any of us,” she said. “We applied for a Gratitude Grant from the Elks National Foundation and received it—we were very excited.”
Monies from the grant were used to refinish a bathtub as well as paint and furniture for one apartment. More than a dozen members of Portsmouth Elks Lodge #97 donated their time to do much of the work themselves.
“We were happy to get involved in this way—this is what the Elks are all about,” said Curcio.
Begun in 2016, ILP is made possible through several additional funding sources, including Newburyport Five Cents Savings Charitable Foundation, which invested $5,000 to help launch the program.
“This is a program that prevents homelessness for youth who have nowhere else to go,” added Wheeler. “It bridges a gap for these youth. While they move through the program in just a few months, it gives them time to get additional support and make connections to outside supports…We help them navigate that world.”
According to Wheeler, Portsmouth Elks Lodge #97 and Newburyport Five Cents Savings Charitable Foundation have helped prevent homelessness for “one of the most underserved populations in the state.”
“This latest gift has literally given one youth a home for several months while we help him build up his options,” she said. “We are so very grateful.”
Founded in 1877, Chase Home is dedicated to providing supportive and restorative residential and family services to at-risk youth in a safe and nurturing environment. Major sponsors of Chase Home in 2017 include The Gove Group Real Estate in Stratham. To learn more about Chase Home, visit www.chasehome.org.