Pathfinders provides a continuum of services to ensure that young people have access to all the resources that they need to find stability. There is no wrong door to enter Pathfinders. Frequently, our youth access more than one program area to meet their unique needs.
Pathfinders helps homeless and housing insecure youth find and sustain safe housing. Once housed, we offer support to youth as they work towards stability, mental well-being, education, employment and other personal goals.
Our programs offer supported housing services that are individualized to the needs of each young person. We place a particular emphasis on serving LGBTQ+-identified youth, chronically homeless youth, youth with disabilities, youth with mental health challenges and youth aging out of foster care.
Runaway and Homeless Youth Services
Our organization offers a wide array of comprehensive services that support our youth’s immediate safety and long-term well-being.
Our welcoming and inclusive Drop-In Center meets youth’s basic needs for food, clothing, laundry, showers, hygiene resources and safe social spaces. We also provide case management, employment and education support, sexual health and wellness education and mental health services.
We operate Milwaukee’s only youth-focused Street Outreach team. With our mobile resource center, we meet youth where they are and share resources, basic needs items, sexual and mental wellness education, and referrals to aid their safe exit from the streets. By bringing our resources to the streets, we remove barriers to accessing services and build trusting relationships with young people in their neighborhoods.
Pathfinders’ Youth Shelter is open 365 days a year and provides emergency short-term shelter for adolescents aged 11-17, plus crisis counseling services for youth aged 18-21. We operate one of only two state-licensed youth shelters serving Milwaukee, representing half of the available beds in the city for youth. During and after their Shelter stay, we offer youth intensive counseling, case management and basic needs services that help them maintain safety and stability.
Anti-Sexual Violence Services
Pathfinders serves young people who are at high risk of sexual abuse, exploitation and trafficking. We work with youth who frequently find themselves at the intersection of sexual violence and homelessness. In addition to providing direct services for youth experiencing sexual violence, our Anti-Sexual Violence team places great emphasis on raising community awareness and ensuring that youth with lived experience have a platform to influence systems change.
Pathfinders’ Hand-in-Hand program provides comprehensive group, family and individual counseling for youth under 18 who have experienced sexual abuse. Hand-in-Hand uses trauma-informed therapeutic approaches to help young people understand their individual reactions to trauma, what triggers these reactions and coping strategies that they can use to heal.
Working specifically with youth and young adults aged 11-25 who have experienced sexual exploitation and trafficking, New Paths offer accompaniment and advocacy services for youth as they navigate medical, legal and social service systems.
Collaborative Rapid Advocacy for Youth (CRAY)
CRAY is a partnership led by Pathfinders of Milwaukee community and system-based advocates to provide after-hours emergency medical and legal accompaniment and improve our community advocacy response for youth 11–25 who have been commercially sexually exploited. More information can be found at www.CRAYmilwaukee.org.
Pathfinders operates the Southeastern Education Center, a Milwaukee Public School contracted behavioral reassignment middle school. The Southeastern Education Center works with students who have been challenged in traditional school settings and are in need of individualized educational support. Our trauma-informed approach to education provides access to mental health and wraparound services with the goal of scholars returning to their school of origin.
Our team of care coordinators offers support to youth living with mental health and/or substance use diagnoses to reduce negative symptoms, develop life skills and transition into adulthood. Using a harm-reduction approach, Pathfinders encourages healthy relationships, self-identified goals and self-empowerment.
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