YouthHope Foundation was established in 2009 by Heidi Mayer. The need for a Redlands based homeless youth service provider became apparent to many within the community, including Ms. Mayer. At the time, several homeless providers existed in the City of Redlands, however non of these organizations specifically targeted unaccompanied homeless and runaway youth, a growing population within Redlands and the surrounding areas. It is within this particular context that Ms. Mayer stepped forward with a desire and passion to assist the homeless, runaway, and under served youth in Redlands.
Ms. Mayer's passion was realized after years of street outreach throughout the west coast. Ms. Mayer first experienced homeless outreach programs in 2003 while chaperoning a mission trip to the west coast cities of San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle. Ms. Mayer found her heart changed by the homeless youth she met and served. Through these experiences, Ms. Mayer visited dozens of shelters, drop-in centers, and outreach providers in dozens of various cities and settings. Upon returning to her hometown, Ms. Mayer began organizing service outings to Venice Beach, Fairmont Park, and other local areas hoping to encounter and bring hope to the homeless youth in each of these locations. By 2009, Ms. Mayer had spent a total of six years organizing volunteers, facilitating outreach programs, and serving the needy and homeless youth within the community and surrounding areas.
In 2009, Ms. Mayer began taking the initial steps in establishing YouthHope Foundation in hopes of addressing the service gap for homeless and runaway youth ages 14-24 in Redlands and the surrounding areas. Today, YouthHope Foundation serves homeless, runaway, and under served youth ages 14 to 24 from San Bernardino and Riverside Counties and believes that no youth is a lost cause.
YouthHope began as a grass-roots organization delivering peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches, socks, and hygiene items out of backpacks to homeless youth on the streets of Redlands. Since its inception in 2009, YouthHope has grown to serving over 3,400 different youth. YouthHope provides the youth with a variety of programs and services aimed at assisting them in moving forward with their lives and exiting street life.