Latin American Youth Center

The mission of the Latin American Youth Center (LAYC) is to empower a diverse population of underserved youth to achieve a successful transition to adulthood, through multi-cultural, comprehensive, and innovative programs that address youth's social, academic, and career needs.
Jul 15, 2014

Meet Joni

Joni
Joni

It has been an exciting and busy few months for LAYC’s Safe Housing program! In June, the Safe Housing participants and staff joined a group from the National Coalition for the Homeless and the Ali Forney Center to a rally in New York City to launch the National Campaign for Youth Shelter. This is a collaboration that will build a grassroots campaign to demand a national response to youth homelessness. During the rally, LAYC youth and staff listened to short speeches by leaders in the LGBT movement and the movement to end youth homelessness. The youth also had the opportunity to be interviewed for Lost in America, a documentary that gives homeless youth a platform to talk about their experiences.

One of these youth is Joni, 21. Joni has been an LAYC participant for six years. At 15, her mother put her out on the street when she learned Joni was gay. Joni took the train from South Carolina to DC with her girlfriend. Soon after arriving in the city, Joni fainted (she did not know she had high blood pressure) and checked herself into an emergency room. The hospital contacted the local authorities, and that is how Joni became a participant in LAYC’s Safe Housing program. In the last six years, Joni has taken advantage of every opportunity to learn and experience new things, including participating in community service, GED classes, and job training. Today, Joni lives in LAYC’s LGBT transitional housing program and is weeks from sitting for GED and customer service certification exams. She plans to go to college and major in business administration.

LGBT youth are disproportionately over-represented in the homeless youth population, with as many as 40% of the nation's homeless youth being LGBT, while only 5% of the overall youth population is LGBT.

With your support, LAYC is able to help youth like Joni get the services they need to make a successful transition to young adulthood. Please consider making a generous donation to our project, and tell your friends. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of homeless and runaway LGBT youth and all youth who need our services. 

May 12, 2014

Spring 2014 Report

CPR station at GWU Hospital
CPR station at GWU Hospital

Dear Future Health Professional Supporter,

Thank you for your continued support of the Teen Health Promoters Program at the Latin American Youth Center. With your help, 14 aspiring health professionals have learned about a variety of health topics, gained clinical skills, and are interning at area clinics and hospitals. Your donations have helped pay for TB testing, required to work in a health setting, and transportation to and from the internship sites.

Of the 14 youth in the program, seven are placed at The George Washington University (GWU) Hospital where they have supported the Emergency Room, physical therapy, and cardiology units and have frequently served as patient interpreters (Spanish). The photographs in this update are from the hospital's skills lab, where the youth reviewed protocols for administering CPR, taking vital signs, and drawing and transfusing blood.

In a few weeks, the program will end for the 2013-2014 school year. We want to thank you for believing in this group of youth and investing in their future. It has truly been a great year. Thanks to you and our clinic and hospital partners, we have provided youth a hands-on opportunity to explore a health career while learning how to keep themselves and their peers healthy.

Some of the participants are graduating high school and will go on to college; others will surely come back in the fall for another year of health careers exploration. We hope you will support the program then too.

Thanks again for your support this year!

The Teen Health Promoters Class of 2014

Phlebotomy station at GWU Hospital
Phlebotomy station at GWU Hospital
Phlebotomy station at GWU Hospital
Phlebotomy station at GWU Hospital
Phlebotomy station at GWU Hospital
Phlebotomy station at GWU Hospital
CPR station at GWU Hospital
CPR station at GWU Hospital
Group at The George Washington University Hospital
Group at The George Washington University Hospital
Mar 24, 2014

Spring Report

Jorge loads a car full of 5,000 diapers!
Jorge loads a car full of 5,000 diapers!

Spring is here, and LAYC's street outreach program is busy with lots of new clients and some exciting new partnerships. During the winter, we averaged 30 homeless and runaway youth per month, and your support ensured they received emergency shelter, food, and the supports they needed to work their way back to their families or find stable housing.

We are happy to share that we have a new partnership with DC Diaper Bank, which works to provide an adequate and reliable supply of diapers to babies, toddlers, and their families in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Our very own street outreach case manager Jorge Cabrera picked up 5,000 diapers for the program's young parents. “Many of our families do not have enough money for diapers, and sometimes some of our youth have to choose between diapers and food,” noted Jorge.

In the next few months, we will start a partnership with a local Wal-Mart store that will donate surplus supplies to our program every two weeks, such as shampoo, clothing, and non-perishable food items.

Thank you for your continued support of our work to keep homeless and runaway youth safe and on a path to self-sufficiency.

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