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LAYC's Montgomery County Conservation Corps at People's Climate March PDF Print
Thursday, 02 October 2014 11:22

By Neysa Guzman, returning Montogomery County Conservation Corps member

The People's Climate March took place on September 21, 2014, in New York City, and it was one of the larger protests the USA has ever seen with over 300,000 people. It was an incredible experience. There were so many different types of people involved: people that survived floods, farmers, students, musicians, environmentalists, young children and older people. All these people were united to stand together, strong, ready and powerful. We were all full of love that was displayed in people's different forms of art, signs, music and dance. We celebrated the hope that we can change things. We wanted to get people's attention to the fact that we are hurting the earth so bad that it may not be fixable if we do not stop. We chanted against oil companies and other big industries that refuse to change the way they operate.

I feel like every person should care, especially young people because this is our future, our earth that we will inherit and lead. I am glad that we could be there to represent the Montgomery County Conservation Corps. Being a part of the MCCC I've gotten to learn to love and really value the incredible earth that we have. Our program teaches us about the environment and the best ways to improve it. It also teaches us to fight for what you believe in and keep going until you succeed. The protest opened my eyes to another fight and because of it I will continue to fight for environmental justice.

August Program Spotlight: Promotor Pathway Expands to Prince George's County Public Schools PDF Print
Monday, 25 August 2014 09:50
Ernie Nuñez in front of the Chipotle Restaurant in College Park, MD, where he works as a cashier and prep cook.

Ernie Nuñez in front of the Chipotle Restaurant in College Park, MD, where he works as a cashier and prep cook.

A lack of structure, role models, and strong family support overwhelmed Ernie Nuñez through much of middle school and high school. Ernie knew he was smart and capable of doing well in school, but with a young mother struggling to parent three children on her own, he started missing school, failing most of his classes, and 'borrowing' relative's cars without consent. The latter landed Ernie in jail twice before his 18th birthday.

LAYC's Promotor Pathway works with youth like Ernie in the District of Columbia and Maryland's Prince George's and Montgomery Counties. The Promotor Pathway is LAYC's long-term, multiple-year intervention model that provides Promotores to disconnected youth ages 16-24 whose obstacles such as homelessness, substance abuse, and court involvement prevent them from accessing resources and achieving educational, employment, and healthy living goals.

Ernie had participated in LAYC's Langley Park programs and staff had noted his poor attendance and problems with school and the law. They referred Ernie to the Promotor Pathway where Ernie was paired with Promotor Doris Romero. At that time, Ernie was a senior at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Maryland. Doris worked with him on his academics, but Ernie was still missing classes and not completing homework. As the year progressed, Ernie could not look forward to high school graduation; he was short on credits and out of time.

Doris believed Ernie needed the structure and environment of a traditional high school to complete his credits and attain a high school diploma, so she worked with Ernie's counselor at Blair to advocate for him to return to the school for a fifth year. This was unusual for the school and a hard sell given Ernie's past performance. Doris' persistence paid off and Ernie returned to Blair that fall. Doris set up after-school tutoring and met with Ernie almost on a daily basis. The year was not easy, but Ernie worked hard and received his high school diploma the following summer.

Now 22, Ernie has maintained a job for over a year, has stayed out of trouble, and helps his mother with the household. He works 20-30 hours a week at a Chipotle Restaurant in College Park, Maryland, and moonlights as a club promoter and dance choreographer. These experiences have allowed Ernie to discover his people skills and creativity and decide what education and career he wants to pursue. Doris is now working with Ernie to apply to barber school and financial aid.

On what was holding him back, Ernie said, "I was frustrated and angry. I couldn't hold myself accountable. I asked myself 'Why me?' instead of 'How do I fix it?'" With Doris' encouragement and her collaboration with the school, Ernie earned a high school diploma and a fresh start into young adulthood. About Doris, Ernie says, "She gave me the family environment and discipline I needed."

Many youth like Ernie reach high school, but lack the support, motivation, or discipline to attend school, complete homework, engage in clubs or sports, and otherwise make progress toward graduation. Cases like Ernie's, where youth are enrolled in high school and beginning to struggle with increasing academic demands and a looming adulthood, are rife in the Promotor Pathway. To better serve youth like Ernie, LAYC placed a Promotor at the LAYC Career Academy Public Charter School last year.

This fall, through a partnership with Prince George's County Public Schools, the Promotor Pathway will serve youth at High Point, Parkdale, and Bladensburg high schools. Promotores will work side-by-side with counselors and teachers to meet students' education, workforce, and social goals to and through graduation. The goal of the intervention is to help youth achieve a successful transition to young adulthood, including graduation from high school, enrollment in college or other post-secondary education or vocational training, obtain gainful employment, and acquire the skills to lead a healthy and happy life. The partnership will serve up to 60 youth across the three schools.

July 2014 Program Spotlight: Summer Showcase PDF Print
Wednesday, 30 July 2014 17:38

Over the last five weeks, 500 children and youth have engaged in summer programs and activities at LAYC in DC and Maryland. Thanks to partnerships with the National Arboretum, National Park Service, Georgetown University, The George Washington University (Adelante program), DC and Maryland schools, our youth are spending the summer exploring college life, completing internships, getting some exercise, and more!

In DC, over 40 high school juniors and seniors are exploring college life and classes on the Georgetown University's campus. Another 40 youth are creating art in natural spaces through our partnership with the National Park Service, and 150 are participating in our summer youth employment program. Through our partnership with the National Arboretum, 60 of our Little Stars camp participants visited the U.S. Botanical Gardens and learned Capoeira, the Brazilian martial arts. Our summer programs at the Rita Bright Family & Youth Center and Sacred Heart School are serving another 150 youth. In Maryland, 165 youth are completing paid internships at local businesses, and 25 youth are engaged in our Adelante program with college and job training and health activities. Highlights from the summer are below. Head over to Facebook for more pictures!

Connecting Youth and Professionals Breakfast



Adelante Job Training Workshop



Little Stars Capoeria Workshop



Guide to Post-secondary on Georgtown University Campus, Clubs



Bike Workshop with Teach-back Relays from Wilson High School Students



Summer Internships in Maryland PDF Print
Thursday, 10 July 2014 13:23
LAYC's Montgomery County Job Fair

LAYC's Montgomery County Job Fair

Our Summer Youth Connect Internship Program (SYCIP) provides eligible Montgomery County youth ages 16-21 with the opportunity to gain valuable and paid work experience. Public, private, and non-profit businesses, government and community-based organizations are providing safe and meaningful work experiences. This program works closely with youth to help them succeed in the workplace, advance their education, and become strong leaders and engaged citizens. SYCIP is a win-win for youth and employers. Youth benefit from SYCIP by gaining financial management skills, hand-on work experience, and connect with positive adult role models. In addition, they improve their interpersonal and communication skills and build connections with future opportunities. Businesses and agencies have an opportunity to make a positive contribution to youth in our community. Together, we are dedicated to building the county's future workforce.


Special Thanks to our Employer Partners

Adventist Healthcare of Shady Grove

American Beauty Association

Ana G. Mendez University

ASM Educational Center, Inc


Community Clinic Inc.-Teen And Young Adult Health Connection"


City of Takoma Park Community Center

College Summit: National Capital Region

Community Support Services,Inc.

DC Central Kitchen

DHHS - Government Leaders for Tomorrow

Division of Rehabilitation Services

East Friendly Baptist Church

Evergreen School


Forum Theater - Silver Spring Black Box Theatre

Gaithersburg High School

Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber of Commerce

Gilchrist Center - Gaithersburg

HOC - Arcola Towers

HOC - Community Partners Inc

HOC - Customer Service Center

HOC - Elizabeth House

HOC - Family Self-Sufficiency Program

HOC -Gaithersburg

HOC - Holly Hall Apts

HOC - IT and Facilities Division

HOC - Kensignton

HOC - Office of General Counsel

HOC - Waverly House

Impact Silver Spring

Kaiser Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group

Life Chiropractic of Olney

Mercy Clinic



Montgomery College Cooperative Education & Internship Program - Germantown

Montgomery County Council Member Nancy Navarro

Montgomery County Council Member-Cherri Branson

Montgomery County Division of Workforce Services

Montgomery County Office of Human Rights

Montgomery County Summer Camp and Fun Centers

Montgomery County Volunteer Fire-Rescue Association

Montgomery County Work - DLLR

Montgomery Works (Germantown )

Montgomery Works (Wheaton)

National Parks Service: National Mall and Memorial Parks

Office of the Public Defender

President's Park

Princess Mhoon Dance Studio

Project Fitness

Pyramid Atlantic Art Center

Salvation Army

Silver Spring Regional Center

Silver Spring Town Center

So What Else

State Farm Insurance

TJ Maxx

Transfiguration Episcopal Church

Vtech Solutions


The Club Visits the White House PDF Print
Friday, 27 June 2014 14:43
The Club participants (from left: Birhane Girmay, Mohamed Deen, Anna Villatoro, Aaliyah Griffin and Roger Kao) in front of the White House June 23, 2014.

The Club participants (from left: Birhane Girmay, Mohamed Deen, Anna Villatoro, Aaliyah Griffin and Roger Kao) in front of the White House June 23, 2014.

The Club, LAYC's community peacebuilding program visited the White House on June 23 as a special trip for the end of the cohort. The Club teaches conflict resolution skills and helps youth develop values in violence prevention, relationship restoration, and social justice. Seven members of the The Club and staff  toured the White House's East Wing viewing the grand East Room, Blue room, Green Room, Red Room, and State Dining Room. Of their visit to the White House Birhane Girmay and Roger Kao wrote:

Being the first in my family to visit the White House is an honor I will carry with me for the rest of my life. It was like a dream come true walking the steps of the White House. After being in the White House, I never wanted to leave. I felt like that is where I belong. My favorite room in the White House was the Red Room, which was decorated all in red. -Birhane Girmay

To me, being able to visit the White House was an honor. The White House is a very special and important building to the entire United States of America. It is the home of the President of the United States. I believe that the White House is the heart and soul of the USA. It means everything to me, coming from a country in Africa, to come to the U.S and have the opportunity to see inside of the White House and take a look at all of the great presidents that helped shape this country. -Rogar Kao

Roger Kao, right, with LAYC case manager Magno Caballero in front of the White House June 23, 2014.

Roger Kao, right, with LAYC case manager Magno Caballero in front of the White House June 23, 2014.

During the year, The Club engages dozens of youth in peer education, community outreach, and open discussion once a week at LAYC's anchor site in Columbia Heights. The youth put on three community events on topics important to them, including violence prevention and awareness and environment preservation.


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