ST. CLOUD -- Despite the cold and some October snow, members of the community worked to raise awareness for local youth homelessness on Saturday.

Pathways 4 Youth held a “Now That You Know” public fundraising event in the parking lot next to Sell’s Auto on Division Street. Community Engagement Coordinator Maddy Zinken says the over 100 mannequins on display represent the number of homeless youth in the community on any given night.

We're really out here to show that as a visual learning experience, so you'll drive by right on Division, you'll see all these mannequins, you'll see our volunteers wearing the same sweatshirts with the hoods up just really to show people what it looks like instead of just showing numbers. With these live exhibits, we're also showing those three different areas: what it looks like to be couch-hopping, what it looks like to be staying in an encampment, what it looks like to be sleeping in your car.

The first $25,000 raised at the event is being matched by a grant from the Joseph R Parker Foundation. Program Coordinator James Mills says the donations go toward the resources provided by the organization.

Some of the things Pathways 4 Youth helps the youth with is finding jobs, housing, education, mental health, those types of things. It's super important that people understand that homelessness in general isn't a bad thing, it's just a struggle that we can always get over.

The organization was started in 2018 and provides meals, showers, laundry facilities, study spaces, toiletries, clothes, counselors, and other resources to area kids experiencing homelessness.

Pathways 4 Youth is located on Cooper Avenue and open from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday. To learn more, volunteer, or make a donation, check out the link below:

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