Funding: Archives 2014 & Earlier

Harriet Boorhem: Youth Today’s Online Diarist

What is your elevator speech? Promise House has struggled with this for years.

How do we say what we do in a compelling, meaningful, impactful 30-second blip? I know we can’t be the only agency struggling with this; particularly those of us who offer a myriad of services not only to teens, but to adults and families.

So, when someone asks me, “What is Promise House?”, my first thought is, “Oh, god, here I go again……how can I do this without their eyes glazing over???”

“We drag kids off the street and save them”…..a bit drastic.
“We shelter homeless, runaway, and at-risk teens”……….BORING.
“We embrace homeless, runaway, and at-risk teens, giving them individualized skills, encouragement, and hope to live a better life”…….too long and a bit touchy-feely, even if it is our mission statement!
“We serve kids in crisis”…….too short and doesn’t tell the whole story.
“We offer a myriad of services for runaway, homeless, and at-risk teens”……..again, true but boring.

You get my drift?

How do we get to the heart of what we do? How do we describe in 30 seconds the transformation we see EVERY day with kids who come to us with literally nothing and leave with an education, a job, money, an apartment, and most importantly, self-confidence and hope for the future?

How do we say in an elevator ride that the young homeless parents who come to us become GREAT parents, breaking the cycle of poverty, homelessness, repeat pregnancies, and child abuse?

What are 25 words or less than can describe the energy, the creativity, the passion, and the beauty that are embodied in the teens with whom we work?

How do we change people’s perceptions about teens in general, and in particular the teens we serve, in two sentences?

I’m stumped. Ideas are welcome. What is your elevator speech?

Harriet Boorhem is the president of Promise House, which provides a multitude of services to families and homeless youth in the Dallas area, and Youth Today’s first online diarist.


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