Student Stories

Beth Holger-Ambrose

Ending Youth Homelessness: Beth Holger-Ambrose ’98 MNM ’04

Beth Holger-Ambrose ’98 MNM ’04 found her calling while pursuing majors in political science and anthropology at Hamline University. As a volunteer at the Simpson Shelter for homeless adults, Holger worked with shelter residents to ensure they could find and keep employment. 

“What I found in the adult shelter just maddened me, and I thought that a good way to prevent homelessness was to start with homeless youth,” Holger-Ambrose said.

She pursued that calling throughout her time at Hamline, participating in Hamline’s Minnesota Public Interest Research Group chapter, completing internships with the Science Museum of Minnesota and Senator Paul Wellstone, and taking many social justice courses.

After receiving her bachelor’s degree from Hamline, Holger-Ambrose worked as a street outreach worker and case manager for runaway, homeless, and sexually-exploited youth at Avenues and The Bridge in Minneapolis. There, she was promoted to program supervisor. She then served as homeless youth services coordinator for the State of Minnesota, where she worked on policy and legislation, program development, funding, and coordination of services for homeless youth.

Holger-Ambrose also took the lead to help develop the Safe Harbor-No Wrong Door Response model, a comprehensive, multidisciplinary, and multi-state agency service approach to responding to sexually-exploited youth and youth at risk of sexual exploitation.

As she advanced in her career, Holger-Ambrose’s responsibilities grew to include more work that she was not trained to do. She decided to enroll in the Master of Nonprofit Management at Hamline’s School of Business. The courses in accounting, human resources, and communications specifically geared towards nonprofits were directly applicable to her work and provided her with the knowledge and skills she needed to take on higher-level responsibilities.

Today, Holger-Ambrose serves as executive director at The Link, a nonprofit organization that provides services and housing for homeless youth and young families, juvenile justice programs, and shelter/housing services for sexually-exploited youth.

At The Link, there is no such thing as a typical day. “In this field of work—working with youth experiencing homelessness, juvenile justice system involved youth or trafficked youth—there is always a new situation or crisis that comes up, so each day is different,” she said. “I am really lucky to be able to work with a great team, so I can spend time working with our programs, finances, board of directors, development, marketing, and human resources.”

In addition to her leadership at The Link, Holger-Ambrose participates in several community initiatives to end youth homelessness and sexual exploitation. She is also a Bush Leadership Fellow and a former recipient of the Virginia McKnight-Binger Award in Human Services. She has published research in the Journal of Adolescent Medicine (2011) and the Journal of Child Sexual Abuse (2013).

Holger-Ambrose’s ultimate goal is to get every homeless youth in Minnesota off the streets and to reduce—and ultimately eliminate—the sexual exploitation of youth, making the career she built for herself obsolete.

Learn more about the anthropology and political science majors by contacting Hamline's Undergraduate Admission Office. Find out more about the Master of Nonprofit Management at the Hamline School of Business, or contact Hamline's Graduate Admission Office to learn about joining the Hamline community.