Who We Are
Our mission is to empower 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.
Since our founding in the late 1960s, LAYC has grown from a small grassroots recreation center into a nationally recognized agency serving all low-income youth. Each year LAYC serves over 4,000 youth and families through youth centers, school-based sites, and public charter schools in the District of Columbia and Maryland’s Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties as the Maryland Multicultural Youth Centers (MMYC).
We believe in a future where all youth pursue their dreams, reach their goals, and acquire the skills and self-confidence to live a life of purpose, connection, contribution, and joy.
What We Do
We create safe spaces to work alongside youth through a variety of services. We provide bilingual programs and opportunities in academics, arts and recreation, job readiness, safe housing, and health and wellness to help youth make a successful transition to young adulthood. We also advocate for policies and laws that create opportunities for youth and their families in our region.
A strong relationship with a caring adult is critical to a young person’s ability to achieve success. Our signature youth development model, the Promotor Pathway®, transforms lives by combining individualized support with mentoring and high-quality services to transform lives. The Pathway’s goal is to eliminate as many barriers as possible in young people’s lives, including homelessness, substance abuse, mental health issues, crime, dropping out of school, unemployment, or gang activity.
The Promotor Pathway® has been rigorously evaluated by the Urban Institute. The results show youth enrolled in the Promotor Pathway® are more likely to stay in school, avoid unplanned parenthood, and have stable places to live.
Who We Serve
We serve low-income youth, ages 11-24, of all backgrounds. This includes low-income youth, teen parents, homeless youth, youth in foster care and juvenile justice systems, and those facing mental health, substance abuse, or complex family issues. See our demographics.
Since 1968, we have served more than 70,000 youth and families. In the fiscal year 2015, we served 3,893 individuals, roughly one-third of whom participated in our Maryland Multicultural Youth Centers (MMYC). See more of our impact here.
LAYC is a member of the UnidosUS Affiliate Network, collaborating on programs and advocacy to address the social, economic, and political barriers faced by the Latino community.