A Day in the Life: Field Outreach Manager Melissa Hoyt
Spend a day with Field Outreach Manager Melissa Hoyt as she leads our Street Outreach Program and takes our Mobile Medical Van out to help youth in the community.
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I start my day in the Bridge Transitional Day Program (TDP) to check in with youth I know from the streets to help ease their transition. One youth looks upset, so I ask how she is doing. “I’m fine,” she responds, but I’m not convinced. I remind her that “It’s ok to not be ok. We want to know if there’s a problem, so we can help.” She sighs, “Yeah, I guess I’m not doing great.” We talk for a bit and walk up to the fourth floor to see if she can meet with a counselor that afternoon.
After my time on the TDP, I usually engage with youth on the street in Roxbury, North Station, or South Station, but today, I begin in Downtown Crossing. I approach a group of youth, introduce myself, and explain I’m from Bridge. I share some of the services we provide, including day programs, meals, housing, and health checks. One youth takes a business card from me and asks if I’ll come back tomorrow, which I agree to do.
I take the Red Line to Andrews, as T stops are places where youth congregate or go to escape the weather. I see an MBTA officer and explain that I’m looking for youth who stay on the platform and appear to be waiting for a train but miss multiple cars in a row. The MBTA officer discreetly indicates a youth. I thank the officer, leave him with a card, and ask him to reach out if he sees other youth. I speak with the youth, who is relieved to learn about Bridge.
As we ride to Bridge, the youth mentions some issues she has been having with alcohol. I casually mention to the youth that there is a weekly AA meeting nearby tomorrow night and I invite her to join. Upon arriving at Bridge, I take the youth to the Intake Department to help get her started on the process.
5 PM: I meet my Outreach team on the Common, the Mobile Medical Van’s first stop of the night. At one point, we are visited by two young women. They are both looking for long-term housing and need help reaching their educational goals. One of the young women has a baby and is 23 years old, so we speak to her about Bridge’s Single Parent House in Brighton. She agrees to come to Bridge the next morning for intake and assessment as to whether the program will be a fit. The other woman is 28 years old, and thus outside of our age range, so I share adult housing options and programs.
We move the van to Harvard Square, where we connect with various youth. While there, we treat a cut on someone’s foot, provide a young couple with hats and coats, and offer a sandwich and granola bar to a visitor who we often see. He admits to feeling a bit under the weather and we repeat, as we always do, that he is welcome to come to Bridge. After a few weeks of visiting us, he is finally ready to accept, and we drop him off at Bridge to spend the night in the Welcome Center.
We drive the van back to Alewife, where it parked, before heading home.