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.
Jun 22, 2016

Meet Dennises

Dennises, happy after her experience at LAYC!
Dennises, happy after her experience at LAYC!

Dear Friend,

Happy Summer! Thank you for your continued support of LAYC’s Street Outreach Program. Please enjoy this story written by LAYC Youth Developer Jessica Hicks, about a favorite client of hers:

Dennises, 23, was kicked out of her home at age 20. With nowhere to go during the cold months she stayed in abandoned buildings and alleys. Luckily, she made contact with the Street Outreach Program during the summer of 2015. Growing up in Columbia Heights, it was important for Dennises to feel a sense of belonging so that she may be able reach her highest potential. After constantly being in and out of trouble, Dennises was able to take full control of her life. With hard work, persistence, she was able to secure transitional living, obtain a full time job and enroll into the LAYC Career Academy to pursue her dreams of becoming certified in Information Technology. She now thrives in her own apartment in northeastern DC. "Because of the staff at the Street Outreach Program, I was able to accomplish my goals," Dennises said as she smiled from ear to ear.

Through LAYC’s services, Dennises was connected to case management, safe housing, employment, and higher education. Just $50 can provide emergency shelter for a young person like Dennises. Your support can mean the difference between a tragedy and a bright future.

 

Gracias,

Lori

May 27, 2016

Meet Carmen, our Outstanding Peer Educator!

Carmen, with her award!
Carmen, with her award!

Dear Friend,

As you know, our Teen Health Promotors program is filled with amazing youth who are amazing peer educators. One such youth, Carmen, just won the DC Department of Health's award for "Outstanding Peer Educator of the Year." See below for her nomination letter, written by staff member Lily Gage.

 "It is with great pleasure that I nominate Carmen for the DC Department of Health/HAHSTA Outstanding Peer Educator of the Year. Carmen is a member of LAYC’s Teen Health Promoters (THP) Program, and her contributions to this program are unparalleled. As part of this program, Carmen completed our Sexual Wellness Advocacy by Teens 11-hour curriculum. Through this program, she has learned not only facts about sexual health, but also how to be an outstanding peer health advocate and educator. 

Weekly, the THP students fill out process logs, documentation recording conversations with peers, friends, and family about the health topics we discuss in class. I am continually impressed with the discussions Carmen records and shares. Not only does Carmen go above and beyond with the quantity of discussions she has with others, but the depth of her conversations far exceeds what I would expect from a high schooler. She has discussed, with friends and family, everything from sexually-transmitted infections to what it means to be transgender. 

During the THP application process, all the students are required to denote whether they would rather do a clinical or peer educator internship. Of all 15 students, Carmen was the only student who indicated that she wanted to pursue the peer educator internship. For this internship, Carmen has spent the last two months meeting with the Teen Health Promoters Coordinator to work on her facilitation skills and become more comfortable with our Sexual Wellness Advocacy by Teens curriculum. Last week, she successfully facilitated a workshop on reproductive anatomy at Anacostia High School. 

Carmen exemplifies all of the qualities of a good peer educator. She is knowledgeable, understanding, nonjudgmental, communicative, and well-spoken. She is comfortable discussing difficult topics and does so factually, with respect and tact. Carmen is responsible, engaged, asks questions related to whatever health topics we are learning, and is always willing to volunteer and speak up. 

Finally, Carmen went above and beyond her role in THP when she filmed and edited the Teen Health Promoter’s video submission for the 'Check Your Risk' video contest.  I have no doubt that Carmen will go on to do great things as a peer educator and health advocate."

 Thank you so much for your support of amazing youth like Carmen. Please consider donating monthly to support this program, and to create more outstanding peer educators!

 

Gracias,

Lori

Carmen (back left) with the other THP students.
Carmen (back left) with the other THP students.

Links:

Mar 30, 2016

Washington Post profiled our program!

Kory, outside the Drop-In Center.
Kory, outside the Drop-In Center.

Dear Friend,

Thank you for supporting LAYC’s Street Outreach Program (SOP). SOP staff outreach in the DC community to find homeless or unstably-housed youth and connect them with services. Case managers work one-on-one with youth to determine their individual needs and create a plan for the future. This month, the program was recognized for our outstanding work through a profile in the Washington Post.

Kory, pictured above, was highlighted in the Washington Post piece, linked here. The article describes her emigration from Honduras, fleeing gang violence. She came to the US to live with her sister, but soon found herself sleeping on friends’ couches. Kory’s situation is not unique for unstably-housed youth. They are scared of adult shelters, embarrassed to admit they are homeless, and worried about paperwork requirements they may need to seek help.

SOP’s Drop-In Center is a safe space for these youth. They can just come to hang out, eat a meal, do laundry, take a shower, and get connected with services. The article highlights how this casual style of programming is essential for vulnerable youth like Kory. “This was a place where you could come and talk and get help,” said Kory in the article.

Through LAYC’s services, Kory was connected to case management, safe housing, and employment. She now works part-time at SOP’s Drop-in Center, where she received services. Please see the linked article for more photos and details about Kory and SOP.

A donation of $25 can provide a three nutritious meals for a young person like Kory. Your support means the world to vulnerable youth who have nowhere else to turn.

 

Gracias,

Lori Kaplan
President & CEO

Links:

 
   

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