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Donor Spotlight: Service Employees International Union PDF Print
Wednesday, 10 December 2014 12:45

by Carolyn Greenspan, Program Coordinator

The LAYC Workforce Investment for Successful Employment (WISE) program, a retail and hospitality-focused GED and workforce readiness program, wants to give a big THANK YOU to the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) for the donation of professional clothing to our program participants. SEIU is a labor union that unites workers to fight for better wages and benefits across three sectors: healthcare, property services and public services. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month in October- November, SEIU employees came together to support the young workers-in-training at LAYC.

Spearheading the effort was the Latino Heritage Committee at SEIU, a committee that works to celebrate, highlight, and promote the contributions of American Latinos. Shola Ajayi, one of the clothing drive coordinators, said, "SEIU and our Latino Heritage Committee were really excited to partner with Latin American Youth Center. Many of SEIU's leaders, staff, members and their families come from the communities that LAYC serves. As we work to ensure the rights and power of working class communities, it is great to partner with organizations that also empower young workers."

The group collected a huge amount of mens' and womens' business attire in excellent condition from other SEIU International staff members for the WISE professional clothing closet. Students take items from the closet to prepare for job interviews and to furnish their wardrobes once they are employed. As students prepare for the work world, the expense of purchasing new professional attire can be a challenging barrier.

After dropping off numerous boxes, Mr. Ajayi shared that more employees than ever participated in this drive. We could tell! WISE staff filled the closet with suits, button-down shirts, dress shoes, and more and still had plenty to share with the Maryland Workforce Programs in Silver Spring and Langley Park. Now our young people across the DC region will be looking sharp and feeling confident as they go after their dream jobs.

LAYC Youth Take on Homelessness and Gentrification PDF Print
Tuesday, 09 December 2014 17:05

 LAYC's housing and AmeriCorps programs teamed up with E.L. Haynes High School and the community group ONE DC to put on a community learning service project. With over 75 people in attendance, the event took on the inter-related issues of homelessness, gentrification, and displacement, all of which are huge realities for our center's youth. We started the day with a morning of education: participants watched a short film on the problem,and then broke up into small groups to share personal accounts of how displacement affects their lives and communities. The group reconvened to analyze why gentrification happens in the DC area as well as who benefits and who suffers from this process.

In the latter part of the day, the participants split into two groups to do something about the issues. One group went to the Barry Farms community in Southeast DC to inform residents of their rights as renters in resisting displacement from this hotly contested real estate. The other group dispersed to neighborhoods in Northwest DC to photograph how changes are happening around the quadrant.

As a closing, the groups came together at LAYC to share photos and accounts of their encounters. It was a day full of moving stories and inspiring ideas of how to take on the issues of homelessness, gentrification, and displacement through collaboration and organized action.

See more photos of the service project on Facebook

Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 December 2014 17:48
LAYC Dance-a-thon 2014 Raises $12K for Homeless Youth Programs PDF Print
Wednesday, 19 November 2014 14:17

Bachata, merengue, zumba...oh my! Over 300 supporters joined us on the morning of Saturday, November 14 for the 2nd Annual LAYC Dance-a-thon. Dancers of all ages came together at Wilson Senior High School to raise over $12,000 for LAYC programs that serve homeless youth. The LAYC Dance-a-thon seeks to raise awareness and funding for homeless youth during November each year, which is National Youth Homelessness Awareness Month.

LAYC youth Tyvon emceed the dance-a-thon, which kicked off with a dance performance by the Wilson dance team. LAYC case manager Heryca Serna led the crowd in a series of zumba moves, and the Princess Mhoon Dance Institute dancers added modern dance to the mix of Latin beats, line dancing, and top 40. The dancers enjoyed door prizes, snacks, and a very good workout.

Special Thanks: The LAYC Dance-a-thon relies on the commitment of its supporters, the community, and business partners to make it a success. For the second year, Wilson Senior High School held the event in its beautiful atrium, and once again EMD Sales Inc provided snacks. New supporters this year included Geico and the CALPRO Group.

See pictures from the 2nd Annual LAYC Dance-a-thon o Facebook. 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 November 2014 22:05
LAYC Proud to Receive $300K from Thrive Foundation for Youth PDF Print
Wednesday, 19 November 2014 12:16

LAYC has been awarded a $300,000 grant by the Thrive Foundation for Youth to support LAYC’s mission of empowering a diverse population of youth to achieve a successful transition to adulthood through multi-cultural, comprehensive, and innovative programs that address youths' social, academic, and career needs. LAYC was selected along with seven other youth-serving organizations from around the U.S., based on its proven track record of directly impacting youth in the communities it serves. The two-year, unrestricted grant will support LAYC’s work in the field of positive youth development.

LAYC is proud to support the mission of The Thrive Foundation for Youth, and to work alongside our fellow grantees, which include some of the most innovative, impactful youth-serving organizations in the country.

Thrive selected grantees based on their demonstrated impact, entrepreneurial, and effective approach to reaching disadvantaged youth. Each one demonstrated the ability to provide comprehensive programming and meaningful learning experiences based on a keen knowledge of youth needs. All eight grantees have professional staff members who serve as the primary “caring adult” in their day-to-day lives, and are role models who provide a consistent, compassionate and trustworthy presence. Collectively, these organizations currently impact the lives of approximately 15,000 young people throughout the United States.

For more details, please see the Thrive Foundation's press release and  grantee website.

Donor Spotlight: Grooming by Em PDF Print
Wednesday, 19 November 2014 11:44
Emily Mansilla of Grooming by Em. Photo by Grooming by Em.

Emily Mansilla of Grooming by Em. Photo by Grooming by Em.

by Yolanda Quintanilla, LAYC Lead Promotor and In-school Coordinator
LAYC youth employee Ivy with customer Edmoston.

LAYC youth employee Ivy with customer Edmoston.

Native Salvadorian siblings Emily and Gary Mansilla opened Grooming by Em in 2001. Since opening their business in North Brentwood, Maryland, their mission has been to better serve and educate the community by holding pet grooming workshops and hosting fundraisers for non-profits.

Grooming by Em has partnered with LAYC for several years. In the last two years, they have held two dog wash fundraisers for the Promotor Pathway and have raised over $1,000 to support the program. Over the years, they have also hired a total of nine LAYC Promotor Pathway youth and have hosted 15 summer workforce program participants.

When asked why she and her brother choose to help youth, Emily responded, "When you run a small business, you rely on the community to bring success to it. I believe that in return there is a certain responsibility to the community that is owed. In our case, Grooming by Em prides itself in our outreach of youth because we were once youth of this very same community. I can honestly say that without the people that steered us in the right direction, without the mentors that helped us along the way, we could not be where we are now. I think it's only fair to take the time to pay it forward".

Thank you for your support of LAYC youth, Grooming by Em!

Grooming by Em website:  http://www.groomingbyem.com/

Follow Grooming by Em on Twitter: @GroomingByEm

Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 November 2014 12:32
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