Some attorneys practice law and retire to consulting or golfing. Ernestine Brown retired as an attorney but felt compelled to helped veterans and orphaned young people who had no one and nowhere to go. Brown established the Alliance of Youth Mission Ministries in 2003 because she felt this was a calling that had to be answered.
Each day at 3040 North 22nd Street, more than 50 men and women are fed, housed and given educational opportunities.
“She felt that this was something that she needed to do after she retired,” said Scott Hawes, the president of the ministries and day-to-day administrator.
In addition to providing the basic needs to the 50 people who occupy the residence, the program services more than 100 people throughout the course of the month.
“She will not turn anyone away, even if they have children,” said Hawes. “Some of our rooms house up to two people but no more than two to a room.”
The ministries receive referrals from area drug and mental rehabilitation facilities. More than 20 percent of the residents have mental disabilities but are able to live independently. Hawes said the staff consists of a psychologist, one medical physician and three pharmacist. Collectively the staff is responsible for the intake, daily stability and mental and physical well-being of the centers residents. Ten case workers also work with the residents to assure that they are maintaining healthy lives and to assist with any issues that may come about.
The center has a board of directors which consists of local professionals. These directors come from various backgrounds and professions in and around the city of Philadelphia. Hawes said they plan to build a facility in Wilmington, which would be the first veteran residential and retail center. The center will receive funding from the federal government, the state and private donors.