VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – On Friday, Seton Youth Shelters announced plans for a new campus along with additional plans for future community programs and operations.
Established in 1985, the organization is dedicated to providing shelter, outreach, mentoring and counseling to vulnerable children ages 4-18.
Seton’s staff welcomes the children with food, shelter, clothing, school supplies, and provides counseling and support required for them either to return to their families or to continue on to another safe, home environment.
“Through a major benefactor, we have reached agreement on purchasing land for a new location in central Virginia Beach,” said the organization’s Executive Director, Jennifer Sieracki.
Seton Youth Shelters said they faced two threats to its ability to continue operations in 2020.
This spring, the COVID-19 pandemic halted the organization’s two major fundraising events and prevented many donors from their ability to support the shelter, outreach, and mentoring programs.
“Within three days in March 2020, Seton lost 25 percent of our operating revenue due to canceled events and shuttered private and retail donors. In the same week, the Catholic Diocese of Virginia ended its 37-year lease for Seton’s Boys’ House. Seton must vacate the Boys’ House on August 31, 2021,” Sieracki said in a press release.
The new campus location would allow Seton Youth Shelters the opportunity to remain in central Virginia Beach, which the organization says is critical for relationships with local law enforcement, the FBI and homeland security in cases of human trafficking, and the organization’s relationship with Virginia Beach City Schools.
The ability to relocate to one campus will address Seton’s current and future needs and expand quality-of-life offerings to young clients.
In addition, the new facility is expected to have a green space for STEM activities.
To complete the project, Seton Youth Shelters is launching a $5 million “Building Promise” capital campaign.
To date, the organization has raised $3.4 million of its $5 million goal.
“We are overwhelmed and beyond fortunate to have had several donors step forward to help us in this early phase of our project and capital campaign fundraising, especially during the COVID crisis. However, we still have a great deal of work to do. We must raise another $1.5 million to complete construction of our new campus, and we know this will be a tremendous challenge in our current economy,” said Sieracki.
Seton’s Outreach Program visits area schools, events, and neighborhoods, and provides intervention, counseling, and shelter options.
The Mentoring Children of Prisoners program gives children of incarcerated parents or caretakers the knowledge, skills, and confidence they need to reach their full potential.
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