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The Spot: Drop-in center for homeless youth opens in West Palm Beach

Posted at 3:56 PM, Jun 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-05 17:10:26-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla -- Maria Batista was placed in foster care at the age of nine. It was the first of many difficult transitions in her life. The next was transitioning out of that system; the only support she ever had, just because she became an adult.

Helping young adults like Maria take that step is “The Spot.” It’s a new drop-in center in downtown West Palm Beach where homeless youth ages 18-25 can go to connect with a life coach, to pick out clothes for a job interview, to relax, feel safe and be supported.

"A lot of kids like me, we didn't have that basic understanding like how to fix a bed, how to cook, how to do coupons so having this here it shows us what we need to know and what we can do so that way we can make that step on our own," she said.

The center was opened by a non-profit group called Vita Nova.

"it's critical we have services to nurture youth, bring them up but more important than that, surround them with a positive network to make them successful help them get to the next level," said Vita Nova CEO Jeff Demario.

"My life coach she helped me transition into FIU which is a big jump for me because I went to Palm Beach State for two years so to go to college by myself was a little scary and I just didn't know how to do it, how to do like the housing the transition and the scholarships I could actually apply for," Batista said.

Vita Nova employees would never call themselves superheroes but the incredible work they do for teens and young adults is equal to that.

Superheroes will appropriately cover the outside of the building in a mural being painted by Anthony Hernandez, a local artist.

Hernandez hopes his artwork will help remove the stigma of youth homeless services and provide a warm welcome to anyone looking for some assistance. "These buildings tend to be very square, very concrete jungle. I wanted something that’s going to draw the youth in and remove a little bit of that stigma that’s very government-like."