Just Breathe 815
     Kevin Ware says Just Breathe 815 started with a conversation in the living room of his home last year.  “My 20-year-old daughter asked me how homeless children get clean clothes,” Ware said.
     The conversation inspired Ware to establish a nonprofit whose mission is to foster social, academic and independent healthy lifestyles for homeless teens and young adults in the Rockford area.
     “These kids are hurting. They have a lot of anger about their situation. These kids have experienced so much trauma in their lives. They need to know that there are people in this community that care about their health and well-being,” Ware said. “   “How do you expect a kid to learn in a classroom when they haven’t slept and they don’t have clean clothes?”
     Just Breathe 815 partners with businesses, churches, schools and social service organizations to distribute clothing, meals and hygiene products to needy children and young adults. Second Congregational UCC/First Presbyterian Church, 318 N. Church St., is providing Just Breathe 815 with operating space, free-of-charge. Ware said the organization has approximately 75 volunteers and operates from 4:30 to 8 p.m. Thursdays and Sundays.
     Ware said the establishment of Just Breathe 815 has been both eye-opening and a blessing.
     “Every life is different. We have to acknowledge that and provide these kids space to be themselves,” he said. “It’s a community issue. It’s bigger than just homelessness.”
     Ware said he’s inspired by the spirit of volunteerism in the community, especially among young people.     “We have students from all over the area collecting clothing to donate,” he said. “So many people want to help.”
     This will be an interesting and inspiring program and will be an excellent opportunity to bring a guest or prospective member.