Nonprofit to open house for teen girls without a home

“Gloria House” invites community to tour its runaway and homeless shelter on Dec. 16 in Visalia

@TheSunGazette

VISALIA – Domestic violence calls have increased by 10 percent in the last 10 years, and the Central Valley has become a center for human trafficking. In both cases, many of these victims are teenage girls unable to return home or find a new one that is safe.

But a new home is being prepared for girls and young women in Tulare County with nowhere else to go. Gloria House, a soon-to-open runaway and homeless youth shelter for girls in Visalia, will hold a grand opening, “Christmas at Gloria House,” on Saturday, Dec. 16, from noon to 4 p.m. Light refreshments will also be served.

Operated by faith-based nonprofit Journey Youth Coalition, Inc., Gloria House will serve as a temporary safe haven for Tulare County female juveniles, ages 14 to 17, who have a history of abuse, abandonment, trafficking or exploitation once it opens.

The House, which can accommodate 24 young women, will offer 24-hour shelter services, including hot and cold meals, showers, hygiene items, laundry and computer services, an entertainment room, individualized sleeping pods, lockers, a swimming pool, garden area and pet area, for up to 45 days.

Free case management, youth, and family counseling, educational support, life skills and mentoring and guidance services will also be available, as well as aftercare resources upon exit.

“Gloria House was developed from a local need for a safe place for juvenile girls who are on the run, homeless or being removed from their family homes,” said Kathy Looper, co-founder and executive director of Journey Youth Coalition. “Too many of these disenfranchised youth fall victim to further abuse, exploitation or even suicide. We want to provide a safety net for those at risk of falling through the cracks.”

“Christmas at Gloria House” provides an opportunity for the community to tour the house, learn about the resources it provides and purchase gifts for the girls or provide a donation. If you can’t attend the event, be sure to look for Gloria House’s search and rescue van. Chavez Insurance recently donated enough for a graphic wrap of the van with information on how to donate to the shelter for girls.

Gloria House is located at 841 A West Walnut Avenue in Visalia. For more information on Gloria House or “Christmas at Gloria House,” or to donate call Sandra Parker at 559-936-6578 or visit www.gloriahouse.org or the Gloria House Facebook page.

Journey Youth Coalition, Inc. is a nonprofit (501)(c)(3) organization with a mission to unite community organizations to restore disenfranchised youth to a limitless future. Created to address the runaway and homeless youth epidemic, the Journey Youth Coalition operates Gloria House, a temporary emergency shelter providing vital services to girls who have been abused, abandoned, trafficked, and exploited. More information can be found at www.gloriahouse.org.

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