Youth Directed and Community Connected

If you’re between the ages of 12 and 24 and are experiencing homelessness or fear you may be soon, please don’t wait.
Call our 24-Hour Crisis Line 317.635.9301
We believe that the young people we serve actually do know what they need. So we empower them to play an active role in designing our programs. We encourage them to take personal responsibility for creating a more promising future for themselves and their peers.

We are one small part of a larger community of agencies and service providers committed to helping youth and young adults escape homelessness in Indianapolis and learn to live self-sufficiently.

Our Commitment

We show up when we’re needed most—helping at-risk youth out of harm’s way. Giving them a safe place and a caring community to sort through the messiness and move forward.
We play the long game. We meet young people where they are, but we don’t let them stay there. We help them see what is possible and then equip and empower them to create a plan and stick with it.
We are more than a shelter. We are a welcome place to heal, learn, and grow. We counsel, coach, and connect young people to the resources they need to make the journey safely from adolescence to adulthood.

Focus on Four

Everything we do is rooted in providing these four things to the young people we serve.


We believe that before you can address the complex needs of young people struggling with hardship, trauma, or conflict, you must first meet their basic human needs of shelter and safety. At Stopover, young people will have a roof over their head, a bed to sleep in, food, and clothing—which may not sound like a lot unless you’ve been doing without.


This isn’t just about physical safety—it’s about emotional safety as well. We believe that for young people to grow into their true potential, they should feel safe to be exactly who they are right now. Everyone should feel welcome, affirmed, and safe to advocate for their own needs in an environment that creates space for healing-centered care.


Everyone needs acceptance and belonging — people they can connect with and count on. Meaningful interaction with others (especially those with shared lived experiences) helps to build self-esteem, empathy, and mutual respect. Healthy relationships with peers, mentors, and family (both natural and families of choice) help young people to build trust and establish appropriate boundaries.


By listening to our young people and allowing them to shape their own experiences, we encourage them to act in ways that will benefit themselves, their neighbors, and the community. By setting personal goals and contributing to the development of an individual plan, young people build both competence and confidence, taking responsibility for their future.
“Stopover’s ability to invest in a young person as they are just becoming an adult is huge!
There aren’t many programs like theirs—expanding Housing First to housing readiness. The likelihood that a young person would return to homelessness is so significantly decreased when you can come alongside them and teach them those critical life skills. I wish we had more programs like that.”
—Brian Paul, Team Lead
Homeless & Housing Resource Team, Adult & Child

Our Story

The Stopover story is the story of Wayne—an 18-year-old who, unable to stay at the family shelter with his mother and younger sister, came to Stopover with the goal of being reunited with his family. With the help of his case manager, Wayne earned his GED, got his first job in a local warehouse, and was able to earn enough to help his mother and sister move out of the shelter.

It’s the story of 19-year-old Stacia, who loves to cook, plays four musical instruments, and lost her mother at age 6. She moved from our Transitional Living Program into her very first apartment after 12 years of being passed from relative to relative, enduring neglect and abuse along the way.

It’s Jack’s story, who was ranked in the top 10% of his class and came to live with us while he finished high school because he could no longer live safely with his mother and her abusive boyfriend after coming out as gay.

It’s Brandi’s story, Evan’s, Justin’s, and Makayla’s. Each one, reminding us why we do what we do.

Since 1970, our story has been one of responding to the needs of our city’s at-risk youth. Over the years, we’ve expanded our physical footprint and our scope of services in order to be ready to enter the stories of young people in search of a new and hopeful chapter. Their stories are our story in every way that matters.
Stopover begins as a host home program of Episcopal Community Services
The first onsite shelter opens on the grounds of Holy Cross Parish on the Near Eastside

Stopover becomes an original member of the Indiana Youth Services Association
Original recipient of Runaway & Youth Services grant (Basic Center Program)

Carol Schwab joins Stopover as the first Executive Director
Transitioned to status as an independent organization
Stopover is the first program to offer home-based counseling services
Stopover purchases the current emergency shelter home in Woodruff Place!
Elizabeth Malone becomes the second Executive Director
Stopover becomes an umbrella organization of the near eastside Multi-service Center (now known as the John H. Boner Community Center)
Stopover awarded Runaway and Homeless Youth grant for the transitional living program, originally located on Beville Avenue (rental)

Community Service Program for suspended and expelled students begins.
Stopover grows into an independent organization, no longer under the funding umbrella of the John H Bonner Community Center.

Transitional Living Program moves to Little Flower neighborhood as a rental.
Elizabeth Malone retires

Amber D. Ames hired as new Executive Director
Partnership with Merchant’s Affordable Housing to purchase the transitional living home in Little Flower
Became the coordinating agency for National Safe Place in Marion, Hamilton, and Tipton Counties
Secured independent mortgage for our Little Flower Home
Launched joint component transitional housing – rapid rehousing program in partnership with HUD and the city of Indianapolis.

We could use your help

As a community, we can work together to end youth homelessness and give young people the opportunity to build a life of their own.

Our Leadership

Amber D. Ames, MSW

Amber Ames is the Executive Director of Stopover and a big believer in empowering young people to advocate for their own needs. A life-long resident of Indiana, she earned her MSW from Indiana University and has been on a mission to listen ever since.

When Amber was in high school, her life was turned upside down by a serious illness. Undergoing treatment that put much of her future in question, Amber was struck by how frequently the adults in the room spoke about her, but not to her. Read More »

Brenden Jones

Operations & Facilities Manager


Peer Support Specialist

Our Board

Angel Knapp, BSW, MSW

Board President
Board member since 2011
Angel Knapp is the Senior Director of Clinical and Consulting Services for Damar Services, where she ensures clinical best practices and promotes enhanced family engagement throughout the organization. Angel has been with Damar since 2005 and is a frequent presenter and technical advisor to organizations across the country seeking to strengthen family engagement in their residential programs. Angel earned her BSW and MSW from the IU School of social work and is a credentialed sexually abusive youth clinician (CSAY-C).

Why I serve: “Serving on the board of an organization that is on the front lines of homelessness in our city is a privilege. As the Board’s President, I’m proud of the investments we make in the well-being of young people and our community. The fact that Stopover’s services to homeless youth and emerging adults are offered on a voluntary basis, I believe, leads to better outcomes.

Dr. Rick Reifenberg, M.D.

Vice President
Board member since 2014
Dr. Rick Reifenberg has served as Chief Medical Officer at HealthNet Community Health Centers in Indianapolis since December 2018. He is an Internal Medicine/Pediatrics Physician who has worked at HealthNet since 2000. For the first ten years of his career, he worked as a primary care Physician at HealthNet’s Southwest Health Center. Even now, he continues to see patients and be involved in resident education while serving as a volunteer Faculty Member for the Indiana University School of Medicine.

Why I serve: “I serve on Stopover’s board because, in my own medical practice, I have seen the toll that homelessness and housing insecurity can take on people of all ages, especially children, adolescents, and young adults. I am proud to help support Stopover’s work to improve the lives of these young people.”

Joe Lackey

Board member since 2019
Joe Lackey has served as the Controller at HealthNet, Inc. in Indianapolis since July 2018. He is responsible for the organization’s financial operations. For the first twelve years of his career, he worked as a Senior Manager at a public accounting firm focused on State Medicaid Agency consulting services, including Federal funding sources, Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments, Upper Payment Limits (UPL), and cost report analysis.

Why I serve: “I serve on Stopover’s board because I am passionate about providing opportunities to underserved populations.”

Simone Headad Brewer

Board member since 2019
Simone Headad Brewer is the Director of Out of School Time Training for At Your School (AYS), an Indianapolis nonprofit providing before and after school programming to over 3,500 students at over 40 sites in six Indiana school districts. Simone’s career has included leadership roles in training, recruitment strategies, and leadership development for Indianapolis nonprofits such as Damar, Goodwill Industries, and the Knights of Columbus. She joined the Stopover board in 2019 after leading the group in a series of strategic planning sessions. Simone earned her BS in Psychology from Franklin College and her Master’s degree from Indiana Wesleyan University.

Why I serve: “I serve on the Stopover board because of my love for serving others.”

Dawn Sparks

Board member since 2013
Dawn Sparks is the owner of SparksFly, a copywriting and verbal brand strategy firm in Carmel. Through stakeholder research, she helps organizations discover and use their unique brand voice in storytelling, messaging, and online conversations. A writer with a marketing and sales background, Dawn writes blog posts, case studies, and sales and marketing copy for B2B and B2C audiences. She serves on the board’s marketing committee, collaborating with staff to communicate and promote Stopover’s mission.

Why I serve: “I was drawn to Stopover because they encourage young people not to let their obstacles define them. Every time I meet one of our “kids,” I’m inspired by their resilience and self-determination.”

Beth Adkins, RN, MSN, CPNP

Board member since 2016
Beth Adkins is a Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner for HealthNet Community Health Centers, where her focus is on adolescent care. Beth has been treating middle and high school students in Indianapolis area schools since 2003. From 2011 to 2018, she served as Director of School-Based Health Programs and the Title X Family Planning Program for HealthNet. An alumnus of the IUPUI School of nursing, Beth returned to IUPUI as a clinical instructor and clinical supervisor in the Master of Science in Nursing and Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs from 2001 to 2010.

Why I serve: “I volunteer as a Stopover board member to pay forward some of my fortunate happenstance. I believe in the mission!”

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