Kids and volunteers at the Outreach Center.
Before CAPTAIN was officially formed, and before there was a shelter, parents and others were helping children by providing them a place to stay, according to Executive Director Sue Malinowski.
“There were no resources back then (for homeless children). Someof the parents and other people in the community were actually taking children into their homes, giving them a chance,” said Malinowski. Volunteers who offered their homes were certified through social services.
Bill Long, a Ph.D. and 2nd vice president of CAPTAIN, has been involved since the beginning and recalls those early days, saying that it was the kids and adults who got things going.
“By the time the kids nudged us, we formed a committee that started talking and organizing. There was some money from drug prevention programs by the county but they went defunct. Then we began talking with some town council folks about the idea. There were a lot of meetings, and early support came from the town. They kicked in the first $5,000,” said Long.
“A lot has changed in families in 35 years. Now there are more families where both parents have to work, and there have been a number of kids with parents who are dealing with their own struggles,” Long continued.
In a continued effort to keep the youth of the community involved with CAPTAIN, there are three teenagers on the board.
“They help with the homework helpline, crisis line, peace campin summer time, the teen advisory board and character development plans,” said Long.
Long also said that CAPTAIN has long had good cooperation and presence within area schools and that many times the organization has been asked replicate the program.
“One of the beauties of CAPTAIN is that there is this multiplier effect, being that there are so many volunteers. There are hundreds,” said Long.