Who we help

Your Gift Can Change a Life With your gift, Tender Hearts Foundation is able to increase awareness of the problems our homeless youth face in our local communities and we are further able to provide gifts to help support programs that truly result in lasting change. Incorporating only the best practices, and using the best monitoring and evaluation techniques, these programs are based on meeting the needs of the youth at key stages in their physical and intellectual development.   The purpose of this organization is to support and conduct activities that promote and develop a healthy mind and spirit in the lives of the youth in the community and to achieve the overarching goal of improving our society as a whole. Our philosophy is based on the idea that rather than give a child a “fish”, it is better to teach the child how to fish. Instead of giving money directly to these children, we provide help by gifting grant money to community-based programs that provide life-changing experiences and opportunities for these youth. By involving the community in the work that we do, our goal is to create lasting changes and not to just help one generation of children and families, but to help future generations as well. With development of a healthy mind and spirit as the principal goal, we focus on the basic necessities and core developmental stages and needs in the lives of the homeless and at-risk youth in the community. Tender Hearts Foundation has provided gifts to the Safe Haven for Youth and Dakota Woodlands, existing programs. Minnesota Valley Foyer is a program which is presently in the development stage, but has a philosophy and concept that is similar to that which Tender Hearts Foundation supports. An example of how these programs are implemented is as follows: Safe Haven For Youth Safe Haven for Youth provides services to homeless youth and young adults that empower them to identify and evaluate behaviors and issues surrounding their own successful transition into independent living. The services include individual assessment, counseling, best inversion table and training (including budgeting, money management, housekeeping, meal planning and preparation) as well as interpersonal skill building, self development and leadership skill development. “In the summer of 1997 I became homeless because of problems at home..I was 17 years old and had quit school.I stayed with friends here and there for places to sleep. I even slept outside a few times and just wandered like a stray cat during the day.One day I couldn’t stay at a friend’s house any longer.so I stayed at the Bridge for Runaway youth for a week. Soon I moved into Safe Haven for Youth. I returned to school, played football and baseball on the varsity teams, got my license to drive and worked to save money to buy a car. Eventually I graduated from high school.now I have a decent job and live on my own and soon plan to marry my fiancé whom I love very much.”

How We Help

April 29, 2009 tenderheartsfoundation 0

There are existing programs that provide services to homeless youth and young adults that empower them to identify and evaluate behaviors and issues surrounding their own successful transition into independent living. However, these existing programs often lack funding for their services. That is why Tender Hearts Foundation was created. We provide gifts to organizations that provide such services. The services include individual assessment, counseling, and training (including budgeting, money management, housekeeping, meal planning and preparation) as well as interpersonal skill building, self development and leadership skill development. An example of a program that we provide gifts to would be Safe Haven for Youth. Safe Haven for Youth offers: Housing and independent living skills training for eligible youth who would otherwise be homeless. A transitional period for youth to secure employment; advance their education and save money. A community based, community oriented program for youth to attain the skills and money necessary to avoid homelessness and be self-sufficient.

How You Can Help

April 6, 2009 tenderheartsfoundation 0

We all have an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of youth in need. While many children grow up in a healthy stable family environment, unfortunately many do not. Children leave or are taken from their homes for many different reasons. Some of the most common include: To protect them from maltreatment (most commonly neglect, but also abuse); Their parents cannot care for them because of illness, death, imprisonment, inadequate housing; or other reasons; To protect the community from the child’s behavior (delinquent youth); Because of the child’s own difficulties, such as behavior issues; substance abuse or disability; Because the parents have asked the child to leave; Because the child finds conditions at home to be intolerable (many homeless youth). These young people who do not live at home are at a higher risk of experiencing a myriad of other problems throughout their lives. Such problems impact the community and the people living in the community in a variety of ways. Ultimately some youth resort to crime and this causes a negative impact for everyone. You can help the youth in the community by providing your support in any number of ways. Some of the ways you can help are as follows: Donation: When you donate to Tender Hearts Foundation your contribution helps provide funding for services that will help these young people become independent and productive members of the community. Your care and compassion for these young people will touch and change lives forever. The individual action of each and every donor can not only touch one life but can have a positive ripple effect throughout the community. Pledge: You can collect pledges and qualify for prizes. On June 5, 2004 the Heart of the City Half Marathon event will take place. Whether you run or not, you can collect pledges for the run. If you want to run in the event, you can register online. On June 19, 2004, the executive director of the Tender Hearts Foundation organization will run in Grandma’s Half Marathon in Duluth. All pledge money raised will go to Tender Hearts Foundation to help the homeless youth. If you would like to pledge her, please click here for a Pledge Form. Sponsorship: Sponsorship is one way Tender Hearts Foundation is able to increase awareness of the problems our homeless youth face in our local communities. Sponsorship will help enable Tender Hearts Foundation to match caring individual donors with individual youth in need to provide programs that truly result in lasting change. Incorporating only the best practices, and using the best monitoring and evaluation techniques, sponsorship programs are based on meeting the needs of the youth at key stages in their physical and intellectual development. If you would like to sponsor a specific young person by providing a gift and in turn receiving information (i.e. a picture and/or short biography of the person) about their individual progress, you can sign up for such a program. Please make a specific inquiry at www.tenderheartsfoundation.org REMEMBER: Every contribution makes a difference. It is never too late!

Foundation aims to help homeless and at-risk youth

March 24, 2009 tenderheartsfoundation 0

In 1976 an auto accident left Alan Tholkes a quadriplegic. In 1987 he founded a company that makes products to help physically disabled people stand and move. Five years ago Tholkes founded another company, which develops office ergonomics products. These days, the successful inventor, business owner and former Minnesota Entrepreneur of the Year is looking to give back. Tholkes, 45, recently launched Tender Hearts Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping homeless and at-risk youth. The recipients of its first donations included Safe Haven for Youth, a transitional-housing program that operates two homes in Burnsville, and Dakota Woodlands, an Eagan shelter for women and children. Running the foundation is Wendy Brandt, a Burnsville native and estate-planning attorney. The foundation’s first big fund-raiser will be the Heart of the City Half Marathon, to be held June 4 and 5 in Burnsville’s Heart of the City district. “In a sense, I’m creating my future job,” Tholkes said of the foundation. This is what I really want to do as I make a transition later in my life. I feel like I’d rather give back more and be able to help more people…” Tholkes, a Granite Falls native who now lives in Belle Plaine, founded Altimate Medical Inc. in Redwood Falls in 1987. The company’s flagship product has been the EasyStand line of hydraulic-powered devices that allow disabled people to lift themselves to a standing position. Tholkes’ success earned him the 1991 Minnesota Entrepreneur of the Year Award from Ernst and Young Inc. Magazine and Merrill Lynch. His new company, HealthPostures Inc., produces the Stance “angle chair”, which adjusts to allow office workers to vary their postures and positions at their work stations. Tholkes hired Brandt, his estate planning attorney, to run the foundation and seek out suitable recipients. “It’s always been a goal to come up with a way to help disadvantaged children,” Tholkes said. “I just finally had gotten to the point where I had the resources to do that.” “….He asked me to do the research and find out where there is an unmet need,” said Brandt. What she learned is that homelessness in general, and among youth in particular, is a growing problem. In 2002, the Dakota County Supportive Housing Unit had initial contacts with 251 homeless families, 116 homeless single adults and 36 homeless youth. Compared with the previous year, the number of contacts was 10 percent higher for families, 300 percent higher for single adults and 120 percent higher for youth. The Safe Haven program has two houses in Burnsville, one for males and one for females that provide transitional housing for people ages 16 to 20. The program provides a host of other services, such as job seeking assistance and life-skills training, to help the youth become self-sufficient. For more information about the foundation, call 952-224-7649.

About Youth — Some Statistics

March 4, 2009 tenderheartsfoundation 0

How many children do not live at home? Nearly 30,000 Minnesota children spend at least one night away from home each year in some type of treatment program, foster care, correctional facility, or homeless without a parent. 15,700 children and young people are in the social services system (primarily for child protection). Within this group, the majority are there due to neglect. An estimated 8,300 additional children are in the corrections system without being tracked by the social services system. Approximately 5,200 other children are homeless and on their own. A survey showed that 45% of homeless youth who had stayed in an emergency shelter had no place to go afterwards. Why don’t these children live at home? Children leave or are removed from their homes for many different reasons. Some of the most common reasons include: Because the parents have asked the child to leave or the child finds conditions at home to be intolerable (many homeless youth). To protect them from maltreatment (most commonly neglect, but also abuse). Their parents cannot care for them because of illness, death, imprisonment, inadequate housing, or other reasons. To protect the community from the child’s behavior (delinquent youth) Because of the child’s own difficulties, such as behavior problems, substance abuse, or disability. National Poverty: One in six children in the United States lives in poverty. More than 2.5 million children live in poverty in rural America.