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YouthLink has increased need for volunteers to help youth experiencing homelessness

YouthLink MN hoping to assist more youth experiencing homelessness this year
YouthLink MN hoping to assist more youth experiencing homelessness this year 02:20

MINNEAPOLIS — Four thousand Minnesota youth experience homelessness on any given night. That's why having resources for young people is so critical.

YouthLink, which does just that, is one of the 60 organizations taking part in Xcel Energy's Day of Service.

From their headquarters near downtown Minneapolis, YouthLink MN assists young people, ages 16 to 24, with basic needs like warm meals, showers, hygiene supplies, clothing and food.

But they also go further, helping achieve educational and employment goals, mental health support and they help with finding housing. Last year, the organization served 60 youth per day.

"Looking at this year, we're definitely going to be serving a lot more," said YouthLink MN Senior Director Shennika Sudduth.

So far this year, that number is closer to 90. That's why volunteers are so critical.

"We cannot do this work without support from volunteers, and so they help us push our mission forward," said Sudduth.

On Friday, volunteers from Xcel Energy will be swapping out summer clothes for winter ones, in YouthLink's clothing closet, as part of the day of service.  


"It's getting cold out and these young people are going to need warmth and materials, and Xcel helps us out with providing that," said YouthLink MN CEO Rich Melzer.

If you would like to help, YouthLink is looking for volunteers to help with the clothing closet, their food pantry, as well as help with packing kits, like those meant for move-ins.

"I've been working with YouthLink since I was 17," said Sydney Mitchell.

YouthLink has helped Mitchell, now 19, to turn her life around.

"YouthLink helped me with my deposit for my apartment, they helped me find an apartment, they helped me learn how to budget, pay bills, get a money order and they gave me my first internship," said Mitchell.

It's a success story Sudduth has seen before.

"To see where they were when they first walk into the door to who they are now, they're owning their life, they have full control and autonomy of what it looks like for them to move forward," said Sudduth.

YouthLink is having its annual Stand Up For Youth donation campaign on Tuesday, Sept. 19.

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