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Spotlight Non-profit: The LAYC goes beyond academics to ensure success in life for low-income Latino youth

LatinaLista — If an organization has been able to last for 42 years then it’s obvious they’re doing something right. There’s no truer example of that than with the D.C.-based Latin American Youth Center (LAYC).


Founded in 1968 and incorporated as a non-profit in 1974, the simple initial purpose of the LAYC was to serve immigrant Latino youth. Since then, it has grown from a small grassroots recreation center to a nationally recognized organization serving all low-income youth and families across the District of Columbia and in Maryland’s Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties.

Today, LAYC operates a regional network of youth centers and public charter schools providing multi-lingual, culturally sensitive programs in five areas; Educational Enhancement, Workforce Investment, Social Services, Art + Media, and Advocacy.

From teaching children how to advocate for public policy that will impact their neighborhoods, like speaking before city council meetings or testifying before Congress, to providing programs that include skills training, job development, job placement, educational programs, social services, crisis counseling, teen pregnancy prevention, drug treatment, residential programs, health, HIV/AIDS outreach and prevention, leadership development, arts, violence prevention, gang diversion, and recreational programs, the LAYC knows it takes more than just tutoring to ensure children will have successful futures.

If that wasn’t enough, they also partner with other youth servicing organizations in campaigns that directly impact the Latino youth.

Because they have been so successful and have incorporated practices over the years that measure the impact and effectiveness of their programs, the LAYC offers something that most non-profits don’t — consulting.

For other communities that want to emulate LAYC’s success, the organization created IMPACTO Consulting. The purpose is “to promote positive youth development by sharing LAYC’s decades of experience creating, refining, and evaluating quality programs for low-income youth and their families.”

Since one of the things that has attributed to the growth and longevity of LAYC is their willingness to try new programs, provide cutting-edge services and initiatives and take advantage of unforeseen opportunities, LAYC established an independent source for funds to enable them to achieve their ongoing goals, called the Future Fund.

The Future Fund has a lofty goal of raising $15 million dollars from public and private donations.

Why so much? Because when it comes to the youth of our region, we think big. A track record like ours attracts constant opportunities. The Future fund ensures that we have the cash on hand to take advantage of those opportunities.

As was said before, when an organization has been around for 42 years, they must know what they’re doing — and the Latin American Youth Center is proof.



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