Seton Youth Shelters was established in 1983 as Mother Seton House, Inc., by three local clergy and a few citizens who were concerned about the vulnerability of runaway and homeless girls living on the streets. The agency was named after Mother Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first native-born American to be declared a Saint and a daughter of charity who provided shelter and schooling for orphaned girls and boys.
Initially, girls were sheltered in the homes of host families but soon the number of girls needing assistance grew to the point that St. Nicholas Catholic Church in Virginia Beach’s Kings Grant community, stepped forward to provide the use of their rectory to house up to 11. In 1999, St Aidan’s Episcopal Church provided a free land lease and a second shelter was opened enabling Seton Youth Shelters to provide shelter, counseling and support for boys in crisis.
Currently each of Seton’s shelters provides emergency shelter, counseling and support 24 hours per day without charge to youth ages 9 through 17 who are in crisis.
Soon after the second shelter for boys was opened, street outreach services were launched with a weekly Teen Drop-In Center at the Oceanfront, and mobile Street Outreach vans providing hot food, counseling and education throughout selected neighborhoods on the Southside and the Virginia Peninsula.
In 2006, the Mentoring Children of Prisoners Program was established to provide one-on-one positive role models for children ages 4 to 18. This program compliments the other positive youth development approaches that are core to the shelter and street outreach services. Building upon the potential of each young person, and supporting the development of the skills necessary to become productive and self-sufficient members of their family and our community, is the linking philosophy of all Seton services.