Dec 14, 2016

Meet Max

Max, 23.
Max, 23.

Dear Friend,

The holidays can be a joyous time to share with family and friends, but it can also be the most devastating time for a homeless youth. Without services like Latin American Youth Center’s (LAYC) Street Outreach Program and Drop-In Center, youth can be left in the cold with few options. Max, one of these youth, has written a letter about his experiences:

“My name is Max. I am now 23 years of age. I grew up without a mother and it was really hard and stressful as a kid. I have two sisters and my grandma, who was the one that raised us three. School was really hard for me. I had to get diagnosed three times. I dropped out in the 11th grade in the beginning of the school year due to having nobody to turn to. My grandma had a stroke on the left side of her body so she needed 24-hour care. Me and my sisters had to split up and I have been on my own since. I've been through two programs that didn't work out for me. I just got put out of them so it left me back at square one, back on the streets. I've slept in empty trucks on Fifth and Florida Ave in DC, abandoned houses, apartments, and metro stations. Now I'm getting better and looking better all because of the help from LAYC. I come every day to LAYC and know that I have people who actually care about me and it's just a safe environment for me. I eat, shower, and sleep there. I come to LAYC every day since I left my job because I have nowhere else to go during the day. At LAYC I have a chance to look for jobs and get help from staff. They give me hope.”

Max continues to come to LAYC every day, receiving all of the services we offer. LAYC staff are working to connect Max with stable housing and employment so that he can make a successful transition to adulthood.

Thank you for your support during this holiday season. A donation to this program means that homeless youth can be kept safe during the cold winter months--just $10 provides a winter survival kit for a young person like Max.

Gracias,

Lori

Nov 22, 2016

There's a new cohort of Teen Health Promoters!

All of the new THP youth!
All of the new THP youth!

Dear Friend,

 

I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce you to our new cohort of Teen Health Promoters. These 15 new participants are now joined by one senior teen health promotor, Claudia, who will act as a mentor and leader to the other participants. See below for a letter from Claudia about her love of the Teen Health Promoters (THP) program:

 

During the fall of 2016, I was involved in a rewarding program which was the Teen Health Promoters. Through THP, I was able to develop social and communication skills because I was able to meet many people and give presentations. In this program, I was also able to learn basic clinical skills that will be beneficial to me because I want to pursue a career in the medical field and having knowledge on these techniques will be helpful in nursing school. I was capable of educating teens about sexual health and health issues and how they can prevent themselves [from getting STIs]. This program opened many doors for me because, I was able to get an internship at Unity HealthCare clinic and in the clinic I shadowed doctors and learned what the medical field will be like. It was a huge exposure of the medical field which gave more motivation and aspiration in accomplishing my goal as a health professional. I have been given so many opportunities as a Teen Health Promoter such as interning at Unity HealthCare clinic and being able to intern at the school of medicine of George Washington University during the summer of 2015. As of today, I am a freshman at Trinity Washington University majoring in Nursing also a staff member at LAYC as a  Senior Teen Health Promoter in which I am able to give back to my community and facilitate everything I learned  in the past to  the new participants and also contribute new ideas for the program. I appreciate The Teen Health Promoters because it allowed me to strengthen my biggest weakness which was public speaking and the exposure made me more motivated in achieving my goal in becoming a health professional. I wish to inspire many more students who have aspirations as well and be a role model for them as well. I appreciate everything that The Teen Health Promoters and staff member Nicole Conner has given me the opportunity to be a part of.”

 

We are so excited to have Claudia back to serve as a senior health promoter for our THP youth. Meet some of our new cohort members below!

 

Now, more than ever, our programs that serve youth of color are on shaky funding ground. If you believe that youth like Claudia and the new THP youth deserve opportunities, consider asking a friend or family to donate to this program. Thanks so much for your continued support.

 

Gracias,

Lori

JahWill
JahWill
Biyeshia
Biyeshia
Enna
Enna
Mykel
Mykel
Elizabeth
Elizabeth
Destiny
Destiny
Alexis
Alexis
Diamond
Diamond
Jocelyn
Jocelyn
Gloria
Gloria
Ermyas
Ermyas
Ruby
Ruby
Perpetua
Perpetua
Brenda
Brenda
Cindy
Cindy
Sep 19, 2016

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser cut the ribbon!

Jilcana speaking to the celebration attendees.
Jilcana speaking to the celebration attendees.

Dear Friend,

Recently, LAYC won the IKEA Life Improvement Challenge and received $8,500 worth of goods and services to build “Hope's Closet,” a place with clothing and supplies for homeless and runaway youth.

LAYC staff bring youth into our drop-in center through the street outreach program to receive services, get connected with resources, and now, to access Hope’s Closet. Hope's Closet will also offer day lockers for youth to store their belongings while they use the drop-in center’s other facilities, which include showers, washers and dryers, nap rooms, kitchen and dining room, computer lab, and private counseling rooms.

To celebrate the opening, LAYC hosted a celebration with DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, Director of Department of Human Services Laura Zeiliger, IKEA USA Store Manger Frank Briel, DC Mayor's Office on Latino Affairs Director Jackie Reyes, Claudia Barahona of Councilmember Brianne Nadeau's office, and LAYC staff and volunteers who serve our homeless youth. Mayor Bowser even cut the ribbon!

At the event, one of LAYC’s youth, Jilcana, spoke about her experience with LAYC’s services when she was experiencing homelessness. Her speech is reprinted here:

Hi. My name is Jilcana and I am a single mother of a two-year-old son, Lawrence Jr., and a six-month-old daughter, Isabella.

When I first came to the LAYC drop-in center, I was struggling with my then one-year-old son and pregnant with my daughter. I was homeless and had run out of hope because every other agency that I had reached out to for help had basically just turned me away. Sometimes I would go and wait for hours only to be told that I wasn’t eligible for that certain program. I never understood why a single mom with another child on the way would not be eligible.

However, when I first arrived here at LAYC, I was greeted warmly and felt welcomed. After all that I had already been through and after I had almost given up complete hope, I finally started to see a little light at the end of the dark tunnel. I was offered food to eat, told that I could do my laundry here and could even shower here if I needed to. That felt so great to hear because those were some of the issues that I had been worrying about the most, being a homeless mom.

I was immediately given resources that I had never heard of before and made to feel like my family and I really mattered to someone.

I am so appreciative for everything that LAYC and the staff here at the Drop-In Center has done for me. If it wasn’t for them, I really don’t know where I’d be at this point of my life right now, but I do sincerely believe that my life would not be looking up like it is now. I am now in my own apartment, thanks to the LAYC Hope’s House Program, with my two children and I am hopeful that by being back in school and having my kids enrolled in daycare, I will be able to grow and better prepare to raise my kids in a more positive environment than what it could have been like had it not been for LAYC.

Now, please join us for the ribbon cutting for our new space, Hope’s Closet.”

Thank you so much for your support of our services to homeless youth. It is because of donors like you and IKEA that we can continue to serve DC’s most vulnerable youth.

 

Gracias,

Lori

Hope's Closet, filled with supplies for youth.
Hope's Closet, filled with supplies for youth.
Mayor Bowser cutting the ceremonial ribbon!
Mayor Bowser cutting the ceremonial ribbon!
 
WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.