This holiday season, we are sharing inspiring stories of young people who have drawn upon their own resiliency and inner strength to achieve remarkable academic and personal goals. The milestones they have reached are so significant they are altering the course for the next generation of youth .

With your support , LAYC youth have found belonging, dignity, and hope , all of which enable them to unlock incredible talents and strengths and persevere in working toward their goals. Keshawn is one of those youth.

When Keshawn first came to LAYC, she assumed her background and circumstances meant she was destined for an unfortunate future. However, she was determined to fight for a happy life for herself and her newborn son. Keshawn recalls, “ I didn’t want to be just another statistic …a young mother who is black, who dropped out, who had a kid and doesn’t know anything.”

While caring for a new baby, Keshawn studied for her GED at LAYC. Even when classes were not in session, she committed to studying on her own. However, housing needs and accumulating family expenses made it hard for her to stay focused and see her studies through to the end.

Despite feeling depressed and wanting to give up at times, Keshawn managed to stay motivated because of her love for her son and the support of LAYC staff who checked in daily. These staff treated her with dignity and respect and offered constant compassion and encouragement.

“So many young people are going through so many problems. We really need to have support, like someone checking in…and making sure that you’re ok,” says Keshawn.

[LAYC staff] helped me to see my worth…and that we all make mistakes. – Keshawn

In addition, individuals like you helped us provide wraparound supports to Keshawn , including a program stipend, diaper donations, meals, employment connections, and family-friendly housing. This gave her the room to breathe and continue with her studies, while feeling confident that she was a good mother to her son.

Keshawn after her GED graduation ceremony


“[LAYC staff] helped me to see my worth…and that we all make mistakes. As long as you show up and keep going, and want the best for yourself, you can do it,” says Keshawn.

Keshawn has now passed all sections of her GED and is completing professional certifications with LAYC support. She feels extremely proud knowing that she persisted, and has set a course for a better future for her son. Like many past LAYC participants, Keshawn was so touched by her experience with genuine and caring case managers that she wants to become a social worker.

“I want to help people feel the way LAYC staff made me feel,” says Keshawn.

You can give the gift of dignity and transform a life.

Unfortunately, not all young people like Keshawn feel seen, respected, or empowered to seek the resources and supports that can unlock their full potential. Through your year-end gift , LAYC staff can continue to provide opportunities for youth to fulfill their hopes and dreams. To multiply your impact and help us reach even more young people, please consider joining LAYC’s Heroes Circle of monthly sustainers.

On behalf of the entire LAYC family, thank you for giving the gifts of dignity and hope to our youth, and for being part of the circle of giving within our community.

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