May 3, 2021

COVID-19 education and outreach for homeless youth

LAYC COVID-19 efforts
LAYC COVID-19 efforts

Since March, 2020, Latin American Youth Center staff have been determined to continue providing services to all of our participants, including our unstably housed clients, despite unforeseen hurdles like decreased opportunities to reach them and connect them to the city's services and resources.

Additionally, we have been faced with the specific challenge to curate and establish safety measures to keep clients and staff safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Our staff have observed first-hand the disadvantage among communities of color in terms of understanding how to access the vaccine, in addition to widespread apprehension about taking the vaccine within these communities. During the pandemic, LAYC’s Health Promotions and Community Wellness teams have been instrumental in educating youth, families, and our staff about the virus and vaccine.

This effort includes the following strategies: 

  • Health Promotions team completing Johns Hopkins' COVID-19 training.
  • Surveying youth and families to assess understanding of the virus and vaccine and to identify community needs.
  • Holding youth focus groups to understand pandemic impact on mental health in the Latinx community (with UnidosUS) and youth focus groups with Habesha and Latinx families to understand feelings around the vaccine and identify effective approaches to vaccine education (with George Washington University).
  • Holding an interactive, internal town hall meeting about the vaccine with guest speakers from the medical field.
  • Providing vaccine information from experts and weekly vaccine updates to staff, including vaccination locations.
  • Disseminating vaccine resources and links to LAYC clients via social media and providing COVID-19 screening to youth.
  • Sharing LAYC staff vaccination experiences with the community.

These efforts would not be possible without our local community partners and your support

Thank you for your commitment to the safety and well-being of our youth!

Lupi Quinteros-Grady
LAYC President and CEO

Mar 12, 2021

Preserving Community for Teen Center Youth

Teen Center youth art
Teen Center youth art

Our Teen Center in DC typically offers a safe space for youth to congregate and participate in an array of after-school enrichment opportunities. Despite the physical closure of our Teen Center last March, youth in our Teen Center programs have remained connected and engaged in programming. 

Thanks to supporters like you, we were able to help youth and families transition to virtual engagement by providing laptops, internet hotspots, and technology assistance.

Dedicated staff and youth made virtual programming a success with educational enrichment, arts and media classes, cooking classes, leadership programs, and creative activities such as virtual college tours, museum viewings, and field trips. Check out our Summer Remix participants' impressive creative work in the program culminating magazine project attached to this report.

This Spring, Teen Center staff and youth will jump into exciting programming in collaboration with HumanitiesDC, working on a project to orally and visually document DC history from the 1960s to the present. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to increased feelings of isolation and uncertainty and LAYC's virtual programming has been critical to maintaining youths' connections to caring adults and building a sense of community. Not only has transitioning to virtual programming been a learning and growth opportunity for our staff and youth, we have realized that, even without coming together in a physical building, we can create a safe space full of community, support, and belonging

Your support has made this possible!

With gratitude,

Lupi Quinteros-Grady
President and CEO

Links:

Jan 6, 2021

Persevering and Finding Hope in our Community in 2020

I am truly grateful for and humbled by the incredible support our local and global community has shown for our youth during this challenging year. Over the past nine months, we have seen the best of ourselves in people who have willingly given monetary support, as well as their time and words of encouragement. 

The work this past year has been a tremendous lift for our staff, who understood that we could not be unresponsive during this crisis.  "We don't like to wait around for someone else to do the work. We are going to find a way to get it done." - LAYC staff member.

It has been humbling to learn how our youth and community have been impacted by COVID-19. For example, up to 70% of homeless youth served by LAYC lost their jobs during the pandemic, hundreds of families were unable to afford rent, and thousands of clients could not meet their basic needs.

Our work has been motivated by our belief that we must hold onto hope and a strong sense of community; one of our most important roles in the lives of young people is to give them hope and assurance that they do not have to face challenges and crises alone.

We would not have been able to keep moving forward this year without the support of our community. This means every donor and volunteer who has enabled us to provide much-needed services and meet immediate needs that have exceeded anything we have seen before. 

Together we have persevered, stood by our communities, and given them hope.

Thank you for your support, for caring, and for being part of our LAYC community.

Lupi Quinteros-Grady

 

Links:

 
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