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Benerd doctoral candidate serves young homeless population in Sacramento

Robynne Rose-Haymer ’18

May 21, 2020
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Robynne Rose-Haymer ’18 views her clientele as the “invisible part” of the homeless population in Sacramento.

They are between the ages of 12 and 24 and often disconnected from society.

“The picture the community has of Sacramento homelessness is not 18- or 19-year-olds on the street,” Rose-Haymer said. “Adult homeless, on the other hand, are very visible and the focus of resources. But the needs are immense for teens and young adults, too.”

Rose-Haymer is executive director of Wind Youth Services. The agency’s website describes it as a “safe, non-judgmental space for homeless and runaway youth, away from the dangers of the street.”

Through a drop-in center, shelters and housing, Wind offers counseling, meals, employment and education assistance, case management services, crisis intervention, creative workshops, Wi-Fi and more. She estimates there are from 1,200 to 1,500 homeless in Sacramento between the ages of 12 and 24.

“We have 51 people on staff and we could use 75,” Rose-Haymer said. “The need for services is non-stop. We connect with the people in need of help.”

Rose-Haymer has a background with public education (18 years primarily in adult education with Elk Grove Unified School District) and community service agencies (Goodwill Industries).

She became executive director of Wind Youth Services in 2018—the year she earned her master’s degree in Organizational Learning and Effectiveness from University of the Pacific’s Benerd College in Sacramento. Rose-Haymer said the connection between her profession and education has been profound.

“Earning my master’s from Pacific made a huge difference in my work,” she said. “So much of what I learned could be immediately transferred to my work at Wind.”

Rose-Haymer is now a doctoral student in the Leadership and Innovation program at Benerd. Her dissertation will focus on emotional intelligence and the youth homeless population in Sacramento.

“Robynne displays a remarkable clarity of purpose, yet she remains open to what more she can learn,” said Professor Delores McNair, lead for the EdD in Leadership and Innovation program. “She is so dedicated to the population her agency serves. Her class work on emotional intelligence and the young homeless population shows her vision.”

McNair shared a story about Rose-Haymer’s dedication to her non-profit agency and doctoral work.

“I was talking to her on the phone a few nights ago and I asked where she was calling from,” McNair said. “She told me she was at work. She said, ‘I need to make sure my team gets a break.’ That is just the way Robynne is in all facets of her life. She cares deeply.”

Rose-Haymer is proud of Wind’s staff and its passion for helping turn around lives.

“Our success, at times, can be difficult to define and comes with an asterisk attached,” she said. “Success, in some cases, means never seeing that young person again.”

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