Peter Youssef
Peter Youssef's Fundraiser

Support for Bernice's Place

Bring back swim lessons for kids

$5,320 towards $6,000

Since 1981, the Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless has been a leader serving the homeless and poor in Union County, New Jersey. They provide a safety net to over 2,500 individuals every year with emergency shelter, homelessness prevention, and comprehensive services that help families work toward self-sufficiency.

I am in my third year of volunteer work with Bernice’s Place, a program within the broader Elizabeth Coalition. Bernice’s Place answers the question: Where homeless children go after school and in the summer months?

They bus children to and from their program, taking them out of shelters and temporary housing and giving them a safe, fun, and supportive environment where they can socialize with other children and in many cases, build long-lasting bonds with these children. Often embarrassed about their home life situation, these children benefit from meeting and socializing with other homeless and near-homeless children, knowing that they are not alone.

While with the Bernice’s Place program, they receive a healthy meal and snack. For many, this meal and the school lunches are the only meals they eat. In the summer months, when school is out, these meals are even more meaningful to the children and their families.

Prior to Covid, I have been involved with the Bernice’s Place swim/sports camps. We not only give the children an afternoon of fun in the pool we teach them swim lessons and water safety hoping to address ongoing drowning issues in communities that lack the means for swim lessons.

Due to Covid, The Elizabeth Coalition has not been able to hold their usual large-scale fundraisers. Through my water polo event, I’m hoping to raise awareness of all the wonderful work they do with the homeless and at-risk community and raise some much needed funds. I’m hoping you will consider supporting me!