ABOVE: Charity Brant (right) with Soroptimist Kaye Van Nevel, who coordinates Collaborative Meetings.
by Jackie Huyck, Soroptimist International of Vista & North County Inland
September 5, 2019–Guest speaker for the September meeting of the North County San Diego Anti-Human Trafficking Collaborative was Charity Brant of the YMCA. She is YMCA Outreach Coordinator and YMCA’s TAY Academy Coordinator.
“TAY” stands for Transition Age Youth — youth ages 12-25, who face barriers to success in adulthood, including homelessness, abuse, and more. They are runaways, foster kids or were kicked out of their homes. About 40% are LGBTQ. They are prime targets of sex traffickers. Ms. Brant has been working with this population since 2014, when she and her team of interns would talk to kids on the streets and give them information on resources to get them off the street.
One such resource is the Y’s TAY drop-in centers, which provide homeless youth with basic hygiene needs plus life coaching, access to a computer, youth development activities, skill development workshops, classes, support groups and access to other community resources. And just a place to rest and be safe.
Brant explained that these youth often lack even basic life skills, and need guidance on even the simplest things like cooking, nutrition and finding a job. “You may think: ‘go get a job at McDonalds or something’…. but it’s not so easy for them,” she said. Many do not even have I.D.s necessary to apply for a job. And getting an I.D. might mean getting a birth certificate, which costs money, she said. TAY helps them with those things and more.
There are drop-in centers in Oceanside and Escondido and she announced that North County Lifeline is opening their own drop-in center for youth in Vista. What Brant was most excited about was the the TAY Housing Program, which provides transitional housing for runaway and homeless youth for up to 6 months during which they learn how to live, cook, budget, save, shop for groceries etc.
Even more encouraging, the Y has recently purchased an apartment complex in Escondido for young adults 18-24, who often “fall through the cracks” after aging out of foster care. It will have 25 units, one of which will be an office, the rest residences.
The next meeting of the Collaborative will be November 7.
For more information about TAY, go to https://www.ymca.org/community-support/ymca-youth-and-family-services/youth-and-young-adult-development/tay-services
The North San Diego County Anti-Human Trafficking Collaborative is a Program of Service of Soroptimist International of Vista and North County Inland in partnership with United Methodist Church of Vista. The Collaborative is a diverse group of individuals and community organizations committed to eliminate human trafficking and modern day slavery. Our mission is to raise awareness of human trafficking, provide a platform to share information, improve services, educate ourselves and the public, and advocate for policy and legislation related to human trafficking. Our Collaborative Meetings are held bi-monthly on the first Thursday of the month from 9 am to 10:30 am in the Church’s Fellowship Hall (lower level) at 490 S. Melrose Drive, Vista. Admission is free and all are welcome. Complimentary coffee and pastries will be available.