Giving Back to the Kids of the Future

When I started my entrepreneurial ventures, I told myself that one day I would give back to the community and would help our youth follow a positive path towards success.

Not everyone has the opportunity to have a mentor, to have a good role model, or has the right opportunities to do great things. Many parents spend much of their time working to bring food to the table, to pay for their kids needs and education, therefore losing time to help guide and lead them, and some are even barely making it by. What if you could create an organization that could provide those things for our youth? Welcome to the answer, Youth Speak! Collective.

From YSC

Youth Speak Collective is a youth-driven organization founded on the idea that all young people can succeed if provided with the right opportunities. We follow a “for youth, by youth” philosophy in which young people are empowered to help design and implement our programs.

We provide students throughout the Northeast San Fernando Valley with creative, high-quality programs that channel their intellect and talent, build their academic skills, and strengthen their investment in their own communities.This work is made possible by a strong network of volunteers, contributors, and community leaders who all take an active role in advancing our work. Explore our programs, become involved, and support our youth!

Youth Speak’s mission is to empower low-income, at-risk youth and their families with the skills necessary to pursue higher education and create strong communities. The organization’s name stems from its commitment to providing youth with the opportunity to ‘speak’ – to be vocal and empowered, helping develop the very programs they participate in, programs that improve the health of their neighborhoods.

Chris and I at YSC's last soccer tournament of the season.

Chris and I at YSC's last soccer tournament of the season.

My Involvement

After sending a friend request on Facebook to an old friend of mine from junior high, I find out that she's one of the facilitators at this organization. She then reached out to me and provided me with some details about what Youth Speak Collective is all about and right away I knew this was the opportunity I've been waiting for.

From left: Me, Chris, Gabriel, and Freddy (the athletics program coordinator) having our first meeting and making our donation to their youth soccer program, Club Futbolito.

From left: Me, Chris, Gabriel, and Freddy (the athletics program coordinator) having our first meeting and making our donation to their youth soccer program, Club Futbolito.

Over the years, I've definitely learned to never let opportunities pass you by. So I spoke with my partners of my company, Euvoia Labs, and we all agreed to make a donation to their youth soccer program to cover the entire cost of getting their trophies and awards made!

One of my partners, Chris, and I had the opportunity to hand out some of the awards to the kids after their last tournament of the season. After receiving recognition from everyone that was there, I knew we had accomplished something great.

This was only the beginning of a lifelong journey as we plan to become more involved in different ways. I highly encourage all of you to search for local organizations that interests you and just get involved! It doesn't matter whether it's a big or small involvement, these types of organizations could use all the help they can get. And if you'd like to learn more about Youth Speak Collective, just click here!

Impact

Youth Speak Collective programs have an incredible impact on the young people they serve, their families, and their community.  Every year their team is determined to strengthen, evaluate and create a deeper impact for their programs in their community. The statistics below are from some of their past program evaluations. 

EDUCATIONAL GAINS

  • 90% of students ages 11 to 19 enrolled in after-school programs reporting raising their scholastic achievement.
  • 87% of students reported raising their grades in one or more class.
  •  75% reported feeling more confident in their academic performance.
  • The 2 public high schools in and around Pacoima have a drop out rate of 51%.
  • In comparison, 95% of Youth Speak seniors complete their high school requirements and graduate with their class.

COMMUNITY IMPACT

  • More than 3,000 hours of community service have been contributed to community projects by Youth Speak students and their families.
  • Through Project Youth Green, 4 square acres of public land has been cultivated into a community garden.
  • In 2009, LA84 Foundation and Nike built a new Futsal court for Futbolito Pacoima valued at $250,000.
  • In 2006, Youth Speak students and volunteers developed Proyecto Kawazoe a Japanese styled drought tolerant pocket park in Pacoima.
  • In 2009, the Creative Tech Center was developed with key funding from the Pacoima Neighborhood Council.
  • Since 2010, our Visual Arts students have created nine murals in the community and hosted seven art shows.
  • Opening in 2013, YSC along with partners the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, Pacoima Beautiful and the City of Los Angeles will open another pocket park and mural located near San Fernando High School

PERSONAL ADVANCEMENT

  • Youth Speak has provided jobs and internship opportunities to over 100 students since 2010.
  • 56% of students participating in our programs report  that Youth Speak had a direct impact in their finding a job out of high school.
  • 78% of students reported having higher self-esteem and self-confidence after participating in a Youth Speak program.