SETON YOUTH SHELTERS PLANS NEW CAMPUS IN CENTRAL VIRGINIA BEACH
Seton Youth Shelters, the region’s only organization devoted exclusively to providing shelter, outreach, mentoring and counseling to the region’s most vulnerable boys and girls ages 4-18, is planning a major shift in future community programs and operations. “Through a major benefactor, we have reached agreement on purchasing land for a new location in central Virginia Beach,” announced the organization’s Executive Director, Jennifer Sieracki. “We are currently completing the contract process. It is an unexpected—and welcome—development in what has been the most difficult time in our 37-year history. Seton, like so many other non-profits, is struggling to fund our daily operations during the continuing COVID pandemic, making this gift of property an extraordinary development in a year of often overwhelming hurdles.”
Seton Youth Shelters has confronted two extraordinary threats to its ability to continue operations in 2020. This spring, the COVID-19 pandemic halted the organization’s two major fundraising events, and prevented many donors from sustaining their support of Seton’s unduplicated shelter, outreach and mentoring programs, offered free of charge to youth and their families. “Within three days in March 2020, Seton lost 25 percent of our operating revenue due to canceled events and shuttered private and retail donors. In the same week, the Catholic Diocese of Virginia ended its 37-year lease for Seton’s Boys’ House. Seton must vacate the Boys’ House on August 31, 2021,” Sieracki explained. “With less than nine months to relocate this critical shelter, time is running out for vulnerable youth on the streets of Hampton Roads.”
In the midst of these unprecedented crises, several donors stepped forward to assist Seton with securing land for a new Boys’ House and the opportunity to bring all of Seton’s programs—as well as operations and administration—together in a single campus. This single location allows Seton Youth Shelters the opportunity to remain in central Virginia Beach, which is critical for relationships with local law enforcement, the FBI and homeland security in cases of human trafficking, and the organization’s relationship with Virginia Beach city schools. Its new location on the HRT public transportation line and proximity to the Southeastern Virginia interstate will better address staff and family transportation needs. Until now, Seton Youth Shelters has maintained three separate, leased locations for its administrative functions, shelters, outreach and mentoring: a girls’ house, a boys’ house, and an administration office. Staff, volunteers and families must travel between the three locations, which are approximately 1.5 miles apart from one another, for programs and services. The opportunity to relocate to one campus will address Seton’s current and future needs and expand quality-of-life offerings to young clients. This includes green space to play and picnic and for STEM activities, and the opportunity to function on one land parcel and have more efficiency and better delivery of services and convenience for children, families and staff. To complete the project, Seton Youth Shelters is launching a $5 million “Building Promise” capital campaign. To date, the organization has raised $3.4 million of its $5 million goal.
Brothers Brian and Stan Holland, principals of Atlantic Bay Mortgage Group, offered leadership support for Seton Youth Shelters’ land purchase and relocation project. In addition to their personal support of the organization’s Building Promise campaign, Brian and Stan plan to include AB Cares, the charitable arm of their company Atlantic Bay Mortgage Group, into their support of Seton’s capital project. Long-time donors Diane and Frank Monroe and the family’s BM Stanton Foundation, have presented a lead gift for the Boys’ House construction. Clay Dills and Dills Architects of Virginia Beach created concept and planning design for Seton’s new location free-of-charge to the organization.
“We are overwhelmed and beyond fortunate to have had several donors step forward to help us in this early phase of our project and capital campaign fundraising, especially during the COVID crisis. However, we still have a great deal of work to do. We must raise another $1.5 million to complete construction of our new campus, and we know this will be a tremendous challenge in our current economy,” said Sieracki. “But we must succeed—for the children and families who need us 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We can answer this challenge only with the support of our community.”
Seton Youth Shelters has been an indispensable resource for the Virginia community without pause since 1985. Each year, hundreds of boys and girls, ages 9 up to 18 arrive at Seton’s two Virginia Beach residential shelters—often in the middle of the night, and in the middle of extreme difficulties at home or on the streets. Seton’s professional staff welcomes them with food, shelter, clothing, school supplies and the counseling and support necessary for them either to return to their families or to continue on to another safe, home environment. Seton’s Outreach Program, visits area schools, events, and neighborhoods, reaching out to thousands of youth, offering crisis intervention, counseling, and shelter options—a lifeline for this vulnerable population. The Mentoring Children of Prisoners’ program gives children of incarcerated parents or caretakers the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to reach their full potential.
Click to watch the 13 News Now Story (December 21, 2020): “‘The last thing we expected was growth’ | Seton Youth Shelters secures site of future home Virginia Beach”
Click to watch the WAVY 10 Story (December 18, 2020): “Seton Youth Shelters get contract for land in central Virginia Beach”
Click to read the WAVY 10 Story (December 18, 2020): “Seton Youth Shelters announces plans for new campus in central VB”