Jeffrey has been a participant in LAYC programs for five years. Born in El Salvador, he began attending LAYC’s Teen Center programs as a ninth grade student at Bell Multicultural High School in DC. He learned about LAYC when Teen Center staff visited the school and presented information about services and programs to students.
When Jeffrey first became involved in Teen Center activities, he was very shy and unsure about expressing his feelings. However, he developed trusting relationships with Teen Center staff and talked to them about his frustrations and struggles in school and his lack of confidence with some academic subjects. Through the Teen Center tutoring program, he began to improve his academic performance. However, he still struggled with confidence and expressing himself, so LAYC staff encouraged him to join The Club, a Teen Center leadership program that focuses on peacebuilding and gang-prevention. He became a vocal member of the group, finding his voice when discussing issues of inequality and discrimination. Teen Center staff also referred Jeffrey to the Promotor Pathway® program, a long-term intervention model for youth facing multiple obstacles that prevent them from accessing resources and achieving educational, employment, and healthy living goals.
Jeffrey continued to thrive at LAYC, and through his relationship with his Promotor Franklin Peralta, he became part of President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper program, where he shared new learning experiences with other DC youth. Jeffrey graduated from high school, something he says he could not have done without the support of Franklin and LAYC. He currently works full time so that he can fund the part-time certification program he’s attending, on his way to becoming an electrical engineer. His dream job is to work for Verizon or Pepco. Jeffrey calls LAYC his second home and says that LAYC staff gave him the greatest gift, which was to listen to him and help him become a success in school and life.