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children under the age of 18 accounted for 39% of the homeless population. So where do these teens go when most shelters are limited to adults over the age of 18? Spokane’s answer to that question is Crosswalk. Under the umbrella of Volunteers of


America, Crosswalk was founded in 1985, as an emergency shelter, providing a group of programs dedicated to breaking the cycle of youth homelessness. In an average year, Spokane’s Crosswalk serves more than 1,000


“I


didn’t


know what


gratitude was,” says Kim Westphall (left). “I only knew guilt and shame.”


“To go somewhere and


have people hear my dirtiest laundry, and they still loved me; I felt a weight lifted off of my chest that was so heavy,” says Heather Heintz (right).


youth, providing emergency shelter 365 days a year at no charge. Providing food, clothing,


shelter


The 2010 Reader’s Survey


Silver Award BEST BODY SHOP


and


personal hygiene products to youth, as well as a warm bed, Crosswalk also offers access to employment-readiness programs and job- placement assistance, an onsite Head Start program as well as medical and mental- health care and other services. The education component is provided through Spokane Community Colleges, with classes for GED preparation or testing, and the opportunity to complete high school credits. Paige Ford was brought to Crosswalk by a


friend’s mom when she was 14, after running away from home where she was being sexually abused. “I’d never heard of Crosswalk,” she says, “and I didn’t want to come here. I was scared and terrified about what it was going to be. I was so scared, and I didn’t want to be


at the Best of Spokane Party.... Tank you for voting us one of the best!


See the Thunderbird


Watson Paint and Body Works 1015 N Division


T:328-4351 F: 328-0767 Always Free Estimates • Ask for Scott


www.spokanecda.com 77


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