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.
Dec 31, 2015

Meet Marcus

Marcus, after living in safe housing due to LAYC!
Marcus, after living in safe housing due to LAYC!

Dear Friend, 

Thank you for supporting homeless youth, especially around this holiday season. Please enjoy a letter from a former homeless youth named Marcus:

“My name is Marcus, I'm 21 years old, and I'm pursuing my post-secondary education in Information Technology. I've lived in the DC area my whole life. My grandfather did a lot of development in Columbia Heights and I knew the Latin American Youth Center was big in the community.

I first became homeless when I was 17 because my mother and I weren’t getting along and she kicked me out of her house. I went to a local family preservation program after that to try and make things right, but I turned 18 and they couldn't keep me any longer because I was a legal adult. I continued to be homeless after that. One day my stepfather dropped me off in a shelter parking lot over the weekend when they were closed. With no other choice, I slept in the shelter bus for two days.

While walking around in Columbia Heights on day, I saw this house on 15th street and was curious to see if it was an LAYC program. They welcomed me in to the Street Outreach Program. I was put on the housing waiting list and eventually moved into the Safe Housing Program for a year.

My future goals are to be gainfully employed in the IT field, and to eventually do research and mold myself into becoming an entrepreneur, perhaps by starting my own business enterprise. I want to acquire a college degree, possibly majoring in business and minoring in technology or journalism because I love writing. I want to be able to pursue my hobbies in poetry, spoken word, and community activism. SOP and the Safe Housing program has given me a place to recuperate from being homeless for such a long time. It gave me the opportunity to find a career interest and begin my studies in IT work. It has also allowed me to get my mental health back on track, and now I get consistent mental health treatment. Being in the Safe Housing program cultured me in life skills and involved me in the LAYC community. It taught me to have fortitude and to be self-directed in my life.”

LAYC’s Street Outreach Program staff outreach in the DC community to find homeless or unstably-housed youth and connect them with housing, just like Marcus. A donation to this program means that homeless youth can be kept safe during the cold winter months--just $50 provides emergency shelter for youth like Marcus.

 

Gracias,

Lori

Dec 8, 2015

Update on Jordy and a new crop of THP students!

Jordy during THP.
Jordy during THP.

Jordy, a senior in high school, reflects on his experience in the Teen Health Promoters (THP) program:

“THP is by far the best experience that I have ever had. It not only helped me learn new clinical skills, but also taught me how to apply them in a health related environment. I was given the chance to volunteer at a clinic which I would have never seen myself doing until I got to medical school. We were also able to create projects that had the purpose of promoting a healthy lifestyle in our community. Through these projects, I was able to work with a great team composed of teenagers and my program coordinator. I was very shy at the beginning of the program, but soon I was able to learn how to communicate with others in a better way. Now I am more confident in myself and have definitely strengthened my passion for a health career.” 

THP was able to launch Jordy to new heights. Not only did he participate in the DC Health and Academic Prep Program, outlined in the last report, but he is now part of the White House Leadership and Mentoring Initiative. We are so proud of Jordy and his journey, as well as the new crop of THP youth! Currently, there are 14 high-school-age youth who have begun this year’s THP program. Stay tuned for news on their educational journey as they explore health careers. Thank you for your contribution! Every donation expands the opportunities that these driven youth can access.

 

Gracias,

Lori Kaplan
President & CEO

Jordy presenting at George Washington University.
Jordy presenting at George Washington University.
Jordy in his lab coat during an internship.
Jordy in his lab coat during an internship.
Oct 7, 2015

Meet Hunter

Hunter at LAYC.
Hunter at LAYC.

"LAYC saved my life. They gave me a helping hand. I was completely alone," shares Hunter, age 21. Hunter came to LAYC through the Street Outreach Program, went on to complete job training at LAYC, and is now a student in LAYC's Bard College where she is working toward six college credits in the humanities. To meet Hunter is do a double-take of sorts. She sounds not unlike a graduate student defending a thesis as she speaks about her life, the current political climate, or issues of social justice. Her enthusiasm for learning is palpable.

One year ago, Hunter came to a crossroads. Her mother had fallen ill after years of drug use and related health problems, and she was staying with her estranged father and his new family. She became depressed, and soon after, homeless.

Today, Hunter is hopeful for the future and focused on continuing her college education.

"I've learned that it's okay to take a different road than the one I had expected to be on. I read somewhere that there is no authentic self. I used to question if I'd be the same person had I had a different upbringing. Now, I've learned that the challenges I've experienced, while painful at the time, have made me who I am. I'm learning to be happy and satisfied with life and more grounded," affirmed Hunter.

LAYC’s Street Outreach Program (SOP) staff outreach in the DC community to find homeless or unstably-housed youth and connect them with services, just like Hunter. Youth receive case management and counseling, access to housing and education, sexual health education services, and workforce development training. Case managers work one-on-one with youth to determine their individual needs and create a plan for the future.

A donation $10 can provide a winter survival kit for a youth like Hunter. Your support means the world to youth who are trying to get on their feet.  

Gracias,

donate now:

An anonymous donor will match all new monthly recurring donations, but only if 75% of donors upgrade to a recurring donation today.
Terms and conditions apply.
Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
  • $10
    give
  • $25
    give
  • $50
    give
  • $75
    give
  • $200
    give
  • $500
    give
  • $800
    give
  • $5,000
    give
  • $10
    each month
    give
  • $25
    each month
    give
  • $50
    each month
    give
  • $75
    each month
    give
  • $200
    each month
    give
  • $500
    each month
    give
  • $800
    each month
    give
  • $5,000
    each month
    give
  • $
    give
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?

Reviews of Latin American Youth Center

Great Nonprofits
Read and write reviews about Latin American Youth Center on GreatNonProfits.org.