Helping People….Changing Lives

Chautauqua Opportunities, Inc. (COI) is excited to announce its participation in Give Big CHQ, a day of giving for local non-profit organizations, on June 14, 2018.

The day-long initiative, led by the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, is an opportunity for people to donate to more than 60 non-profits across Chautauqua County, including COI. All funds raised for COI during Give Big CHQ will be put toward the Safe House, a licensed 12-bed shelter for runaway and homeless youth age 17 and under in Jamestown.

Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the Safe House gives local homeless and runaway youth a safe place to stay, food to eat, and help with any problems they may be facing. Under the guidance of COI staff, youth at the Safe House learn valuable life skills, work toward achieving their individual goals, and develop positive supports within the community, including their own families whenever possible. All homeless youth are assisted with maintaining or re-establishing school attendance. The Safe House has provided shelter and other services to more than 2,000 runaway and homeless youth since 1993.

The Safe House addresses an urgent need for care of at-risk youth in Chautauqua County. In the 2016 – 2017 school year, school districts in Chautauqua County reported 255 children facing homelessness at some point during the year. Furthermore, when compared to the rest of the state, youth in Chautauqua County are at an increased risk of experiencing poverty, dropping out of school, and facing abuse or maltreatment. Without stable support and shelter, youth may also become victims of human trafficking or sexual exploitation.

Those interested in supporting COI and the Safe House during Give Big CHQ are encouraged to make a donation in any amount of their choosing on COI’s Give Big CHQ page on June 14, and to share information about the fundraising event as the day approaches. Through Safe House operations, COI continues to work toward the goal of providing safety and security to the youth that need it most.