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September 24, 2018

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Findlay Good Works:

NPHY provides safe space, resources and hope for homeless youth

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Christopher DeVargas

Arash Ghafoori is the Executive Director of Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth (NPHY). NPHY provide services for homeless teens to meet their immediate needs and provide a safe, supportive environment and a path to self-sufficiency.

Arash Ghafoori, Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth (NPHY)

• Title: Executive Director

• Agency address: 4981 Shirley Street, Las Vegas, NV 89119

• Agency phone number: 702-383-1332

• Agency website: nphy.org

• Hours of operation: Monday-Saturday 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. (Safe Place available 24/7)

What is Findlay Good Works?

Good Works is a twice-monthly series in Las Vegas Weekly in which we highlight the efforts of nonprofit groups that are making a difference in our community. You can check out the good work of more organizations by visiting facebook.com/FindlayAutoGroup.

What does your organization do? Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth (NPHY) is a comprehensive service provider for thousands in Southern Nevada, serving hundreds through our core programs and touching the lives of thousands more through outreach each year.

NPHY’s programs stabilize homeless teens’ lives, meeting their immediate needs and providing a safe, supportive environment and a path to self-sufficiency.

Through our work with homeless youths, NPHY creates productive, healthy adults who contribute to society.

Who are its clients today? The issue of youth homelessness has continued to grow year after year in our community. We see hundreds ages 12-21, from all walks of life, who are falling victim to issues such as family breakdown, America’s culture wars, abuse and neglect, commercial sexual exploitation and much more. With guidance, resources and support, these youths can achieve anything they put their minds to. Many of the youth who have come through our programs have gone off to college, the military and into the workforce, where they are now self-sufficient, tax-paying citizens.

What are its initiatives or goals? Our first goal is to provide quality direct services to homeless youths in our community, which will get more people off the streets and onto a pathway of self-sufficiency. The second is to take a leadership role in youth homelessness advocacy here, working with local systems that interact with homeless youths to break down silos and contribute to systems-level improvements to more sustainably address youth homelessness.

What services might the community not know about? In addition to offering a continuum of core programs, NPHY offers many other services that help eliminate barriers while youths are becoming self-sufficient. These programs include Youth Law Cafe, where we offer legal services to people who may have accrued minor status offenses while they were trying to survive on the streets, and the Power ON! collaborative mentoring program, which is the only mentorship program of its kind in Southern Nevada for youths who have been commercially sexually exploited or who are at risk of becoming victims of commercial sexual exploitation. Power ON! was one of six programs of its kind across the country that was federally funded in 2016 by the Justice Department.

What can people do to get involved in the cause you serve? Many of NPHY’s volunteer opportunities give community members a chance to engage with young people, either out on the street or at our drop-in center. For example, our program Cooking for a Cause is where groups come to NPHY’s drop-in center to cook hot meals for youths while playing games and engaging with them. These opportunities provide volunteers with a look into the seriousness of the issue and also give many of these youths a chance to see that the community cares about their circumstances, and that not all adults are out to victimize them.

What can Southern Nevadans do to improve our community in general? I encourage everyone to get involved with quality organizations and raise your voices about the injustices you see. Do not stay silent. The power is in the people and we need to leverage that more. If we all work together to improve our community, then little by little, it will happen. We can’t rely on others to do that because it’s everyone’s community.

Anything else you want to tell us? Many issues that our community cares about are intimately related to the issue of youth homelessness. If you are invested in issues such as immigration, LGBTQ issues, sex and labor trafficking, food insecurity, foster care issues and education, you should also be invested in youth homelessness.

This story originally appeared in the Las Vegas Weekly.