May 17, 2009

Harrisburg group supports at-risk youth

I wanted to share another of Harrisburg’s somewhat hidden treasures with you. The Joshua Group is a mentoring organization located along Market Street in Allison Hill. The group supports and works to rescue the futures of street kids in that particular neighborhood. They offer hope in the form of educational and vocational opportunities. You don’t get much more important than that around here.

One branch of the group is the Joshua House, which provides around-the-clock supervision and an intensive life-skills support program to non-adjudicated males in need of guidance and counseling. The goal is for these young men to become self-sustaining members of a community.

The Joshua Group also organizes a Save Our Students Fund, which has enabled the group to place more than 20 deserving, at-risk high school students into a private city school. This intensive mentoring program gives potential drop-outs a chance to set higher educational standards for themselves without having to face the obstacles of the local public school system.

The organization operates a resource center where more than 150 streets kids come each month to take advantage of tutoring opportunities, job search and placement programs, and classes to help prepare for GED and SAT testing. It also includes a walk-in counseling service for those in immediate need of help.

Another component is the J-Crew – an after school mentoring and tutoring program that partners 7th and 8th grade students with a group of older Joshua Group kids. They spend time together working on at-risk youth prevention skills, homework assignments and recreational activities. The program is successful because the kids are eager to seek the advice and encouragement of someone who can directly relate to life growing up in Allison Hill.

The group also offers a transitional home, which allows youth to experience the responsibilities of self support and paying rent while still having the support of the Joshua family when they need it.

The final element of the Joshua Group is its urban farm, which grows and sells organic vegetables while providing education, service and vocational opportunities to youth.

Many of the children the Joshua Group comes in contact with are simply looking for a way to put some sanity back into their lives. If you find yourself wanting to reach out and further support this initiative, there are a number of avenues you can take. To find out how you might be able to help, call (717) 236-4464 or send an e-mail to

I invite you to find a way to connect yourself to this group and help to support it. Their donation needs include school supplies, office supplies, household and cleaning supplies, personal care items, cold-weather items and gift cards.

To make a monetary contribution, please click here or send a check made payable to The Joshua Group to 1442 Market Street, Harrisburg, PA 17101.


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