Tulare County expands services for youth in need

The center serves roughly 300 youth in the community.

Shayla Girardin Image
Tuesday, July 5, 2022
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The Tulare County Office of Education's Dream Center added a clothing closet, food pantry, and preschool area - and that's just the start.

TULARE COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Tulare County Office of Education's Dream Center is a one-stop shop for foster youth and youth experiencing houselessness.

"Someone to help them with their education, someone to help with their medical, someone to help with their health insurance, someone to answer questions for them to look for a job," says Beth Wilshire.

Now thanks to a recent expansion, students will have even more available to them.

"We want to make sure there's a space where youth can come and don't have to go to several offices for their needs," says Courtney Sallem with Tulare County child welfare services.

Over the past months, the organization added a clothing closet, food pantry, and preschool area.

And that's just the start.

"We wanted to make this side a youth side just specifically for youth - so they have a place they can relax and be comfortable and the services designed for youth can be there," says Sallem.

With the added space, the center can now house all of Tulare County's child welfare services independent living programs.

Most importantly, the added space and collaboration means the team can better serve the students.

"Youth can come and not just have needs met but feel comfortable. There are a lot of youth that hang out here - it's almost like their second home or their home away from home," says Sallem.

The center serves roughly 300 youth in the community.

Staff say in the future they hope to have a mobile Dream Center to serve other counties.