For over 45 years, we have helped young people write their second story. Their first story is the story they were handed, the story that they were born into, the story that happened to them. When a young person takes up their pen and begins creating their own life narrative, that’s when they start writing their second story. We’re here to help them do that.
Now, Alternative House is writing our Second Story, and so we are changing our name and look. We’ll now be called Second Story.
We opened our doors over 45 years ago to provide shelter for young runaways. At that time, the name “Alternative House,” a group that gave young people an alternative to life on the streets, fit our organization well.
Today, we have expanded into an organization that serves people through many different programs in the greater Washington DC Metropolitan area. Through our Second Story for Teens in Crisis program, we give safe haven to teens who are homeless, leaving an abusive situation, or experiencing crisis. Through our Second Story for Young Mothers program, we offer a comprehensive program that includes housing, food, clothing, financial advising, and a path to stability for young mothers and their children. Through our Second Story for Homeless Youth program, we offer services and support to enable homeless young people to finish high school, start college, recover from trauma, and enter empowered adulthood. Through Second Story in the Community, we help low-income, disadvantaged youth connect to school and their community. We provide after-school tutoring, meals, learning experiences, and space for computer centers and clinics. We run family resource centers that distribute food, clothing, and other supplies, and link youth and families to financial advising, translation services, and more.
To reflect our wide array of programs and services, we are transitioning to a name that can begin to describe our expansive mission, to work for a world in which all young people are safe, live in a nurturing environment and have the opportunity to reach their full potential.
Join us as we enter this exciting new stage of development, and write our Second Story!
Our Mission and Vision
The vision of Second Story is of a community in which all young people are safe, live in a nurturing environment and have the opportunity to reach their full potential. Founded in 1972 as “Alternative House,” Second Story transforms the lives of children and youth, helping them stay safe, make positive decisions, achieve educational success, and overcome personal crises. We offer children, youth and families hope for brighter futures by providing counseling, shelter and neighborhood-based support.
The Path to Empowered Adulthood
The path to empowered adulthood can be tumultuous, at each stage. Our programs step in at a critical juncture of a young person’s life, lifting them back up when they fall and staying the course, to ensure that they have opportunities for learning, growth, and success.
Infants and Toddlers. Children born to young mothers are more likely than most to become young parents themselves, limiting the choices they can make in adulthood. So our young mothers program provides support to young mothers to help break the cycle of poverty, learn how to work toward a stable home, and become a nurturing parent for their child. A stable, safe, supporting home is the first step in providing that child opportunities to thrive.
Elementary School Children. Our Safe Youth Project offered through Second Story in the Community helps to connect at-risk children from marginalized communities with after-school programs in which they get homework help, art classes, confidence building activities, field trips, and other learning experiences to help expand their sense of possibility. Being part of a community of choice helps a young person avoid the pitfalls and bad decisions that can push them into a less empowered life.
Teenagers. Our Teen Center provides computer labs and desks for at-risk teens to do their homework, access to tutoring programs, help filling out college and scholarship applications, and more. Our center provides a supportive, safe space and opportunities for success. Our Second Story for Teens in Crisis program steps in during critical moments in a young person’s life, such as homelessness, abuse, or a mental health crisis, and helps walk a young person back onto the path to empowered adulthood. Our Second Story for Young Mothers program is there for teens who find themselves pregnant or parenting, and without stable housing.
Young Adults. Our Second Story for Homeless Youth program helps provide services and support, including housing and counseling, to enable homeless young people to finish high school, start college, recover from trauma, and more. In our program young people learn the final life skills they will need to enter adulthood.
Community Members. Our Family Resource Centers, Learning Centers, clinic services and more are offered through our Second Story in the Community program. These help families and community members in crisis, when they need help getting groceries and clothing, maintaining a safe home, and navigating the paperwork and legal requirements of life. We are there to lift people up during those moments of struggle in life, to help them walk that path of a more empowered adulthood.