Mission and History
The Latin American Youth Center's (LAYC) mission is to empower a diverse population of underserved youth to achieve a successful transition to adulthood, through multi-cultural, comprehensive, and innovative programs that address youth's social, academic, and career needs.
For 45 years, LAYC has been committed to transforming the lives of low-income young people and their families. LAYC offers multi-service, comprehensive, and bilingual enrichment, prevention, and intervention programs and opportunities in education, workforce readiness, housing, community building, mental health services, arts, and healthy recreation to over 4,000 individuals each year.
LAYC has special expertise in serving undeserved youth, low-income teen parents, homeless youth, youth in foster care and juvenile justice systems, and youth facing mental health, substance abuse, or complex family issues.
While LAYC initially worked with Latino youth of diverse backgrounds, today all youth -- Latino, African American, African -- are supported by LAYC at sites in the District of Columbia and Maryland's Prince George's and Montgomery Counties.
What We Do
LAYC provides multi-lingual, culturally sensitive programs in the following areas:
Educational Enhancement programs include standards-based culturally competent year-round tutoring and homework assistance, healthy recreation and fitness, computer literacy classes, and college preparation.
Social Services programs strengthen the family unit as the primary foundation for youth development through counseling, prevention, child placement, and residential housing.
Workforce Investment programs assist out-of-school youth build the skills they need to obtain and retain meaningful employment through a holistic program of job readiness and life skills training, job placement services, computer instruction, and preparation to pass the General Education Development (GED) examination.
Community Wellness supports the development of individual, organizational, and community capacity to promote health and wellness, build a culture of peace, and address issues of homelessness.
Art + Media programs encourage youth to experience the power of their art as a means of self-expression and as a tool for exploring community issues. Creative abilities are developed through classes in fine arts, photography, video, radio, and media production, music, and creative writing.
Advocacy programs work to influence public policy and practices and social systems that affect low-income and minority youth in Washington, D.C. and Maryland.
The Promotor Pathway, is LAYC's intensive, long-term relationship-based strategy to meet the multiple needs of the region’s most vulnerable youth: disconnected young people. These youth are likely to be homeless or in foster care, have substance abuse or mental health issues, be involved with the criminal justice system or gangs, have dropped out of school, or be unemployed. The Promotor Pathway is undergoing a random assignment evaluation conducted by Public/Private Ventures and has received national recognition as part of the Social Innovation Fund through Venture Philanthropy Partners youthCONNECT initiative.
LAYC’s work in outcomes measurement and performance management serves as a national model for the use of data to inform nonprofit organizational and programmatic decision-making. To measure effectiveness, LAYC uses Efforts-to-Outcomes (ETO) performance software to collect and analyze demographic, output, and outcome information on each program. Outcome measures are linked to LAYC’s three primary goals for youth in the areas of education, work skills and healthy behaviors. LAYC is one of the few nonprofits to have multiple staff receive ETO Administrator Gold Certification.