Apr 12, 2019

Meet Noely!

Dear Friend,

A 2018 DC Point-in-Time Count of the city’s homeless registered 6,904 individuals, including 417 unaccompanied youth. The majority of these youth were between the ages of 18 and 24. Many have recently immigrated to the US and need comprehensive support to surmount multiple challenges as they transition to adulthood. Through your support of LAYC’s housing programs, immigrant and other homeless youth like Noely find stable housing, wraparound services, and a caring support network enabling them to achieve their personal and professional goals. Here is Noely’s inspiring story:

Noely arrived in the US from Central America in 2016. When unexpected family difficulties arose shortly after her arrival, she was left on her own to face the challenges of being an immigrant youth with no place to live. She felt hopeless, having no other contacts to rely upon for support or guidance in her new country.

However, her Noely’s outlook changed when she was connected with dedicated and caring staff at Latin American Youth Center. After receiving temporary housing and other services through another nonprofit, she was referred to LAYC’s 18-month Transitional Living Program in October 2018. The program provided safe and secure housing through a host family, dedicated case managers and mentors, connections to employment and education, and assistance navigating the immigration process.

Noely is now studying at YouthBuild, an alternative DC high school, and is maintaining a part-time job. Her case manager says she never misses a case management appointment and is an amazing student with perfect attendance and excellent grades. She has big dreams to become a nurse, to better help her mother, who battles chronic illness. Noely’s employer values her as a hard-working team member. She is making the most of her employment by regularly contributing to a savings account, and sending her mother money to assist with medical bills. She is committed to fulfilling her personal responsibilities in the immigration process, and never misses a court date. Not only is Noely making huge strides academically and professionally, but she is also cultivating supportive relationships. She has a positive relationship with her host mom, has made many friends in the program, and frequently participates in activities with other youth and host families. 

Noely’s perseverance and optimism in the face of great odds have enabled her to achieve many of her personal goals. She recently received her work permit, is applying for asylum, and looks forward to taking her GED exams soon, now that she has the required ID.

Support from donors like you has been critical to Noely’s success. Please consider donating to help more young people facing homelessness, like Noely, receive the support they need to thrive and pursue their dreams. Even small donations make a difference by providing youth with essential items, such as a $50 metro card to cover transportation to school, work, and doctor’s visits.

Thank you for your generous support,

Lupi Quinteros-Grady
President & CEO

Jan 11, 2019

Meet Miguel!

Dear Friend,

Every homeless youth faces a unique and complex set of challenges, yet they all share the same hope of finding safety, shelter, and the opportunity to improve their personal circumstances. Miguel is a young person who faced numerous challenges during his childhood in Guatemala and after immigrating to the US in 2016. Though Miguel was without a home upon his arrival in the US, he found refuge in LAYC’s transitional living program, and with the support of many caring individuals, he has learned two languages, is succeeding at school and work, and is thriving socially. Here is his story:

As a child in Guatemala, Miguel lost both parents and faced extreme poverty. Despite speaking only his local dialect and having no contacts in the US, Miguel immigrated to Texas at 17. Not only was Miguel on his own and daunted by immigration procedures, he was also suffering from a severe, chronic medical condition. Shortly after arriving in Texas, Miguel underwent surgery and was told he would need ongoing medical treatment. This was a scary and confusing time for Miguel due to the challenges of communicating with his medical team and the fact that he had no previous knowledge of his medical condition.

After relocating to the DMV, Miguel was connected with LAYC and was soon placed with a caring foster mother. Miguel quickly learned English and Spanish and committed to regular meetings with LAYC staff. Through LAYC, Miguel found a safe place to sleep, received case management and counseling, and was connected to critical medical services and a GED program.He received guidance related to navigating complicated health care and legal systems, as well as school and public transportation.

Miguel has flourished in his time at LAYC. From day one, he has demonstrated exceptional personal responsibility, never missing a case management or medical appointment. He recently transitioned to an independent living program through DC Open Doors and has successfully held two jobs. In addition, Miguel continues to manage his chronic medical issue while attending his second year of GED classes at Next Step Public Charter School. The LAYC team is tremendously proud of Miguel's persistence, resilience, and many achievements. They are quick to share that his delightful and endearing nature makes him an absolute joy to be around.

Thank you so much for your support of LAYC’s homeless youth programs. Please consider donating to help more young people like Miguel receive the comprehensive support they need to thrive in adulthood.

Gracias,


Lupi Quinteros-Grady
President & CEO

Oct 15, 2018

Meet Nancy!

Dear Friend,

Latin American Youth Center (LAYC) is proud of our program alumni, many of whom are committed to giving back to the organization and our community. Here is Nancy’s story:

Nancy jokingly says that she is an LAYC youth “from back in the day,” when LAYC was located on 15th Street NW and youth affectionately called LAYC’s Teen Center “La Peña.” She notes that while LAYC was not as structured and diverse in programs as it is today, the impact LAYC and its staff had on her life is something she will never forget.

Nancy found LAYC in 1989 under challenging circumstances. She had been in trouble with law enforcement and appeared in court before then judge, Eric Holder. At that hearing, Judge Holder put Nancy on probation, placed her in a teen shelter, and had her report to an LAYC staff member. That staff member, Director of Social Services Carla Branch, and so many other LAYC staff became an integral part of Nancy’s teenage years. Nancy notes that she had no family support, and when she became pregnant with her first child, it was LAYC staff who supported her, even being with her in the delivery room. And when living with family failed after she had her daughter, it was LAYC who stepped in and paid the deposit and first month’s rent on a studio apartment furnished with supplies to care of her newborn. Nancy’s journey includes many highs and lows and through it all, Nancy recounts many other instances where LAYC and its staff stepped in and provided guidance and support. And while she notes that the staff’s names and faces may have faded from her memory, their actions have stayed with her and guided her on her path.

Today, Nancy is a successful realtor in Washington, DC. She takes pride in finding people their homes and finds gratification in knowing that she has helped someone find a safe and welcoming space of their own.

Nancy has been a consistent supporter of LAYC, generously donating to LAYC’s annual Gala for numerous years. When asked why she gives back to LAYC, Nancy says, “As alumni it pays to give back. When I give back it’s rewarding to know that someone else will benefit from LAYC’s resources. As the saying goes, one hand washes the other, and the other the entire city.”

Thank you so much for your support of LAYC’s homeless youth programs. As the new president & CEO of LAYC, I am honored to continue this vital work that’s integral to our mission. Please consider donating to help more young people like Nancy become vital forces in their community.

Gracias,

Lupi Quinteros-Grady
President & CEO

 
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