Together for Hope - COVID-19 Response for Youth

by Latin American Youth Center
Together for Hope - COVID-19 Response for Youth
Together for Hope - COVID-19 Response for Youth
Together for Hope - COVID-19 Response for Youth
Together for Hope - COVID-19 Response for Youth
Together for Hope - COVID-19 Response for Youth
Together for Hope - COVID-19 Response for Youth
Together for Hope - COVID-19 Response for Youth
Together for Hope - COVID-19 Response for Youth
Together for Hope - COVID-19 Response for Youth
Together for Hope - COVID-19 Response for Youth
Together for Hope - COVID-19 Response for Youth
Together for Hope - COVID-19 Response for Youth
Together for Hope - COVID-19 Response for Youth
Together for Hope - COVID-19 Response for Youth
Together for Hope - COVID-19 Response for Youth
Together for Hope - COVID-19 Response for Youth
Together for Hope - COVID-19 Response for Youth
Together for Hope - COVID-19 Response for Youth
Together for Hope - COVID-19 Response for Youth
Together for Hope - COVID-19 Response for Youth
Together for Hope - COVID-19 Response for Youth
Together for Hope - COVID-19 Response for Youth
Together for Hope - COVID-19 Response for Youth
Together for Hope - COVID-19 Response for Youth

The holidays are normally a time when families look forward to celebrating and spending time together, but this year is different. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact our daily lives, and youth and families at LAYC continue to feel the strain and hardships that began early this year.

LAYC's mission has never been more clear. Despite the barriers and growing division, we are still here to serve our youth and communities. We do this by stepping in to fill service and resource gaps that have been exacerbated by systemic racism, and by providing opportunities for the healing, belonging, and learning that our young people deserve.

Youth and Community Needs Remain at the Heart of our Work

In the early months of the pandemic, we immediately shifted to responding to increasing essential needs such as food insecurity, rental assistance, and technology/hotspot access needed for distance learning and mental health support.

Youth and family insights and feedback have enabled us to offer solutions that uplift our communities and ensure each person is treated with dignity as families face rising unemployment and economic hardships. 

This moment in time has called me and my colleagues at LAYC to reach out of our comfort zones and serve and respond as essential workers in our community. Like you, we are eager to have this pandemic behind us, and while we hope for the best, we prepare for the long journey towards healing and recovery.

Providing Encouragement and Hope as Programming Continues

Not only did LAYC staff sustain programs and services across all sites and programs this year, they found time this summer to celebrate youth accomplishments and provide much-needed encouragement. For example, they led socially-distanced 20-car graduation parades through each youths’ neighborhood, delivering flowers, diplomas, and cheers, and taking pictures of youth in their caps and gowns.

 “Even though [youth] didn’t have a traditional graduation, they had something, and [they knew] we cared and we were there for them. They really enjoyed it.” - An LAYC Promotor Pathway Program Manager describes the impact of 2020 graduation parades.

Program recruitment and youth check-ins continue, and we are already serving over 500 youth this fall through virtual academic, enrichment, wellness, and workforce programming, as well as safe in-person services such as safe housing support and STI and pregnancy testing. 

Together For Hope

Partnerships, collaboration, and widespread community support have been a source of strength and resiliency this year. The challenges our community is facing will only continue to increase in the coming year but, with your support, LAYC will continue to be an anchor for youth and families, responding to immediate needs while providing supportive learning environments and critical connections to their community. 

Thank you for helping LAYC lift up our community during these challenging times.

Wishing you peace during the holiday season,

 

Lupi Quinteros-Grady 
President and CEO

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Miner, 2020 graduate
Miner, 2020 graduate

As LAYC families continue to navigate challenges stemming from the ongoing pandemic, they are also thinking now about how they will ensure their school-age family members will be prepared for the upcoming school year, whether students will be attending school in person or virtually. This includes elementary through high school students, as well as GED and college students.

Job loss for primary income earners in many households will make it even more difficult to purchase essential school supplies to enable children to keep up with learning in the coming year. So many families are currently unable to afford rent and food, let alone the additional cost of a backpack containing basic school supplies. As schools implement distance learning this year, each student is in need of access to a laptop and internet, which is creating further barriers to learning and more financial stress.

With your help, LAYC staff can provide backpacks, school supplies, essential technology, and wraparound support so that young people can complete their schoolwork and avoid falling behind in their education.

2020 Graduate Highlight:

Before Miner heard about LAYC’s Promotor Pathway® from an existing participant, he was thinking of dropping out of high school, discouraged by a lack of support and mentoring during his education. After he joined the Promotor Pathway, staff helped Miner obtain his driving license, provided informal counseling and access to resources whenever he needed it, and helped him build his self-esteem and improve his communication skills with his parents, to better address educational and personal challenges as they arise. Prior to joining the Pathway, Miner was not interested in continuing his education after high school but he is now graduated, applying for college, and seeking support through the New Futures Scholarship program!  

Your support provides hope and opportunity to thousands of youth like Miner in DC and Maryland each year.

With my heartfelt thanks,

Lupi Quinteros-Grady
President & CEO 

LAYC’s Promotor Pathway® is a long-term client management intervention model for disconnected and disengaged youth facing multiple obstacles that prevent them from accessing resources and achieving educational, employment, and healthy living goals. This evidence based model allows Promotores to work on a one-on-one basis with each youth to remove barriers, proactively encourage participation in a broad set of LAYC services, and connect them to other needed resources within the community so they may make a successful transition to adulthood.
2020 graduate
2020 graduate
Laptop distribution
Laptop distribution

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Michelle
Michelle

LAYC is committed to supporting our youth and families during this pandemic by providing grocery deliveries, hot meal distribution, connecting youth to telemental counseling services, and distributing Chromebooks for distance learning. Virtual programs are being offered to engage youth across all of our programs and reduce their isolation by fostering a sense of community.

We are also participating in #GivingTuesdayNow, a global day of giving responding to the needs caused by COVID-19. 

As I describe in this video, the pandemic has dealt a tremendous blow to our youth and their path to success. For example, Michelle was ready to leave LAYC’s independent living housing program in March. She had graduated school, secured a job, and was securing her first apartment. She had built a solid support system and, for the first time, genuinely felt that she was actually going to make it. Then COVID-19 arrived and disrupted her goal to live in her own apartment.

This crisis has set youth like Michelle back months, if not years, in achieving multiple goals.
In just two months, the unemployment rate among our youth has increased to 62%; in-person education has been disrupted, and youth are further isolated due to social distancing. Our youth and families urgently need food, rental assistance, laptops and communication equipment, mental health support, and other critical resources. You can read more here about the needs of homeless and foster care youth, and how LAYC staff are responding to those needs. 

Youth who were on track to reach their goals have been brought back to a time of instability. Once the immediate crisis has passed, these youth will have a long road of rebuilding, which will require intensive support and time to heal.

On this Giving Tuesday, I hope you will join us in rallying "Together for Hope" to keep our youth and families connected and protected.

Your gift will provide these youth with the support, hope, and encouragement that will enable them to heal and rebuild. 

WIth my deepest gratitude,

Lupi Quinteros-Grady
President & CEO

Continued support for LAYC youth and families
Continued support for LAYC youth and families
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LAYC’s team in Prince George’s County has worked diligently to adapt programs during the COVID-19 crisis, knowing how critical it is to keep our youth and families connected. Your support makes this work possible!

Coming together for our community matters now more than ever, and our staff and partners are making every effort to be present and bring consistency to the lives of all of our youth and families, no matter how COVID-19 needs and responses  evolve.

It is critical that we make every effort to keep our students engaged while schools implement distance learning, particularly by supporting those who lack access to computers and the internet. Our recent efforts in Prince George’s County include resource distribution a variety of academic and after-school enrichment supports:

Resource connection and distribution
Staff have been hard at work while practicing social distancing distributing resources to over 750 students and families. Resources include grocery and diaper packages, gift cards, resource kits, laptops, and internet access. In addition, English classes offered to parents and families online are fostering parent engagement and a sense of community. Parents are excited and engaged to continue to learn, connect, and support one another!

Virtual academic and workforce programming
Our staff are keeping middle and high school students connected and engaged in learning with a positive youth development approach to virtual programming. Students can access academic enrichment, life skills development, creative enrichment, college and career activities, and even virtual field trips that allow them to “travel the world.” GED and job readiness instructors are keeping young people focused on the path to success through virtual sessions and are even hosting a virtual Spring Break camp for high school seniors!

Case management and mental health support
Our staff are providing virtual case management, counseling, and other support services to all of our youth and families. As many are experiencing increased anxiety, family stressors, and emotional turmoil during this crisis, we have shifted resources to hire a new mental health counselor to specifically support community members during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While we don’t know what lies ahead of us as a result of COVID-19, we do know that your support makes it possible to stand alongside our students, families, and community every step of this journey. 

My sincerest thanks and wishes for good health,


Lupi Quinteros-Grady
President &CEO

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Organization Information

Latin American Youth Center

Location: Washington, DC - USA
Website:
Project Leader:
Jamie Cotta
Washington, DC United States
$3,906 raised of $5,000 goal
 
35 donations
$1,094 to go
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