On the Horizon

“Behind every ‘f*** you’ is an ‘I love you’ just waiting to happen,” Lisa Hanscom, Associate Director of New Horizens, told us last week.

We sat down to speak with the staff at New Horizon Ministries this past week about their partnership with youth to exit street life, and this statement caught us off guard, but for more than the reason you may be thinking. They explained that when a youth slips a ‘f**** you,’ it’s almost always a sign of righteous indignation, and that the vulnerability in the young people shows the vulnerability in the staff. The surprise of a dropped “f-bomb” in conversation may be shocking, but is it more shocking to hear that word or to hear that a young person is living on the street, alone, and surrounded by all of the things that come with street life?

Think about it. What causes more unease- a word or a situation?

New Horizons is one of several ministries around Seattle that works with more than 1,000 young people from the ages of 13-24 each year in the battle against homelessness and abuse. Their goal is to help these youth find stability in the form of a roof over their head, connection, community, income, and school. Essentially, New Horizons wants to care for youth however they might need it, and they go to great lengths to care in the best way possible. They partner with churches to cook meals eight times each week and do regular “spa days,” movie nights, and open mic nights to give youth the chance to unwind, share talent, and relax.

In reality, it’s hard to imagine New Horizons working alone in this battle. Battles are not won alone; that’s why there are youth shelters all over the city fighting the same fight and fighting it together. From Capitol Hill to the U-District, there are case managers getting together weekly to share their successes, struggles, and ideas. There are community organizational meetings and church partnerships across the city to help with cooking, work projects, and donation drives. The truth is, this city cares about its youth, just like any mother would care about her kids. Seattle’s youth are Seattle’s future, and they are on the horizon. The workers at New Horizons realize that if they can get past a word, they can begin to handle a situation.

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