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Wellness walks help Life House keep reaching homeless youth

Baihly Warfield
Updated: May 15, 2020 10:44 PM

Allie McDevitt and Sheri Johnson usually catch up with homeless and at-risk teens during meals or counseling sessions at the Life House building downtown. 

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But the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent Stay at Home order forced the shelter to close. 

"When you know they're struggling and you can't see them in person, it's really hard," McDevitt said. 

McDevitt is an alcohol and drug counselor at Life House. Johnson is the wellness program manager. Both know how to meet kids where they're at emotionally and mentally, but now they're also doing it physically. 

"With one youth, we went out for 2.5 hours on a really nice day and picked up five garbage bags full of trash," McDevitt described. 

Walks are allowing Life House staff to stay connected with teens who might need a hand.

"We can physically distance while we're still in-person and able to see each other," Johnson said, "because I think this COVID precautions have left people really feeling isolated and disconnected."

They want to show the teens there are still people who care. 

"I think because we're reaching out to say, 'Do you want to meet this week?,' we're putting out that effort to let them know that we're still here for them," Johnson said. 

McDevitt went so far as to say the pandemic has presented some "awesome" opportunities. 

"I want to continue working this way," she said. "Just being in the sun for mental health is huge."

The walks are lifting spirits and changing lives. 

"It's what we do, and it's who we are, and we always want to be here for them," Johnson said. 

Besides food, Life House is also still providing hygiene products and basic needs. If you can help, visit lifehouseduluth.org

Credits

Baihly Warfield

Copyright 2020 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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