SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Young people in Springfield had the chance to learn more about jobs educational, opportunities, and housing assistance available in the area at the third annual Older Youth Resource Fair. It was hosted by CASA and the Greene County Juvenile Office on Thursday.
The event was designed for older youth ages 14 to 21. Jude Ernst was at the event and said he made some connections that will help make his life better.
“There’s a lot of great, great places here,” Ernst said. “A lot of great programs you can get into.”
“There’s a whole bunch of different resources. I feel like it’s great for anybody, you know, any young person or older person to come and just see what’s going on,” said Chloe Dennis who attended the Resource Fair. “If you don’t know what you’re going to do with your life, this is a good place to come and, you know, maybe get some ideas.”
Thursday’s event featured about 50 different vendors including employment opportunities, vocational and educational opportunities as well as health and housing services, and community resources.
“We dreamed up the idea of the older youth resource fair,” Racheal Hunt lead advocate supervisor over Greene County at CASA Southwest Missouri said. “So a place where youth could come not just foster youth, but unsheltered youth and other youth in our community who just may not know what is available to them.”
“There’s housing programs that help with housing,” Ernst said. “And that’s what I’m very interested in.”
There were also giveaways and free items like haircuts, hygiene kits, snacks, and more.
“So, our goal is to just wrap these kiddos with the resources they need,” Hunt said. “And give them some extra things to take along their way.”
Hunt said many young people have benefited from the event over the last three years.
“Just seeing the joy that comes from that, you know, over the last couple of years,” Hunt said. “We’ve gotten to hear some really cool stories about youth who were connected with providers and had some needs met that they didn’t otherwise know how to meet. And that makes it all worth it.”