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Nashville Oasis Center provides safe haven for troubled youth


Nashville homeless youth have
fighting spirits just like
these Haitian homeless youth
Photo: AP/Paul Jeffery, Act Alliance ho
The Oasis Center is a local non-profit organization that provides services to youth ages 12-21 who are experiencing challenges in regards to basic necessities – food, clothes, shelter and also those who are having emotional, social and academic difficulties. The center provides comprehensive programming to cultivate a safe and caring passage from adolescence to adulthood. The center is run by highly-qualified staff with many years of experience helping youth led by Hal Cato, who is the center’s director. In addition to an active Board of Directors, volunteers gave 17,500 work hours to the center last year. Oasis Center serves youth from metro Nashville, but does not limit its geographical boundaries. Many teens come from different countries and speak over 26 different languages.
Some of the services and programs that the center provides are a drop-in shelter serving runaway and homeless youth and a transitional living center for youth ages 17-21, and a youth clinic on-site to care for sheltered youth’s medical needs. There is therapeutic counseling which focuses on adolescents, a youth job center in partnership with Nashville Career Advancement Center, and a MNPS classroom set up for homeless youth. The center is equipped with computers with internet access and there is a convenient MTA bus stop located directly in front of the building. The center boasts that 91% of youth who entered its programs returned home, reestablishing meaning relationships with caregivers.
In addition to these services, Oasis Center also runs a College Leadership Program which readies participants for college admission. By providing encouragement, understanding, caring relationships and academic tutoring, 100% of the youth in this program were accepted to college. Youth impacted by the center describe it as a peaceful, safe place that has truly changed their lives. The center serves over 1900 youth per year. Teens in crisis can call the hotline for help 24 hours per day at 1-866-975-FREE. Those wishing to volunteer can call the center offices at 615-327-4455.
For more info: Oasis Center of Nashville, Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, TN Department of Education Homeless Youth Services

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