Category Archives: Youth Stories

Each year, an estimated 6,000 youth in San Francisco find themselves without a safe place to call home. For many youth, living on the streets is safer than staying home because of violence, limited family resources and/or rejection. Many have been sexually, physically or emotionally abused and have mental health and substance abuse issues. Larkin Street’s youth inspire us all through their motivation and resilience.

We believe all youth should have the opportunity to pursue their dreams and reach their full potential.

Hospitality Learning Center Shows Off Culinary Skills

by Wesley West, Manager of Larkin Street Academy Larkin Street’s Hospitality Learning Center began its third cohort with manychanges geared towards advancing students’ skills in meal planning and food preparation. Class meets as a large group on Fridays to find recipes and create lunch menus, planning for the week ahead. Working in teams, they build meals … Continue reading Hospitality Learning Center Shows Off Culinary Skills

“Putting the Pieces Together” – 20th Anniversary

by Peter Carpou, Liaison for Arts and Cultural Development

“Putting the Pieces Together” celebrates its 20th Anniversary! This remarkable, colorful 96 panel mosaic mural at the Powell Street BART/MUNI entrance was created by over 300 youth from Larkin Street Youth Services between 1992 and 1995, and is recognized as one of the top nine murals in the city.

Girl Looking through Ruins created in 1995 by Brian, one of Larkin Street's clients in 1995.

The panel “Girl Looking through Ruins” became the face, literally, of “Putting the Pieces Together.” This popular panel was created by Brian, a charismatic and empathic young man who inspired a light heart in tough times, tinged with a sense of gravitas for the challenges ahead. His interpretation of the panel was as of a child looking ahead into the future – a positive outlook from a positive-thinking client of Larkin Street Youth Services – a representation of a street youth, looking through a broken wall to the other side, the side of the viewer. She’s a survivor who walks in two worlds: the broken one that we see but don’t know, and the one that she knows but wishes to change where she is in it.

Each of the 2’x4’ mosaic panels in “Putting the Pieces Together” is an
authentic and passionate reflection of San Francisco in the early 90’s and the issues that faced homeless and at-risk youth then – issues that continue to impact this vulnerable population and the city at large. The mosaics emerged from the hard work and dedication of the young people under the leadershBart Mosaic Mural Peter and mosaic panelip of Peter Carpou, Larkin Street’s former* Art Program Director & Liaison for Arts and Cultural Development. All of the materials were donated and collected from various suppliers and picked up each week in front of their shops or given for free, upon request.

Larkin Street’s Arts Program continues to be integral to supporting homeless young people as they transition into independent adults – to help them achieve the outcomes set forth by the Growth Campaign (see page 2).

The Arts Program offers drop-in workshops and groups as well as introducing new, “career track” intensive curriculums in areas including Music Production, Fine Arts/Design, and Computer Arts/Media Design. Young people who enroll in and complete these 12 – 14 week curriculum’s will take explicit steps toward pursuing a career in these fields – to be able to go on to internships with sustainable career pathways or enroll in supporting college-level courses in these same fields.

*As of November 1st Peter Carpou has retired. Larkin Street extends deep gratitude for Peter’s 26 years in service of homeless and runaway youth.

Gallery of photos from 20th Anniversary celebration on October 22, 2015:

Girl Looking Through Ruins – 20th Anniversary Mosaic Mural at Powell BART/MUNI

“Girl Looking through Ruins” is one of the mosaic mural panels at the BART/MUNI Powell Street Station created from 1992-95 by Brian, one of Larkin Street’s clients. “Girl Looking through Ruins” became the face, literally, of “Putting the Pieces Together,” the 96 panel mural installation facing the MUNI Station.  It was a popular panel as … Continue reading Girl Looking Through Ruins – 20th Anniversary Mosaic Mural at Powell BART/MUNI

What Does ‘Back to School’ Mean When You’re A Homeless Youth?

Consider what the ‘back to school’ season means when you’re a homeless youth. When you don’t have a safe place to sleep, or food to eat, school can seem a lifetime away. However education is crucial to breaking the cycle of homelessness. Every year, Larkin Street celebrates our high school, GED, and college graduates with … Continue reading What Does ‘Back to School’ Mean When You’re A Homeless Youth?

Music Helping to Put the Pieces Together

La Guitarra (The Guitar) “Music of the Americas” by Genaro E. La Guitarra, “GUITAR, MUSIC OF THE AMERICAS” was created by Genaro E., one of Larkin Street’s clients as a homage to the music of El Salvador, Genaro’s homeland and his new land, the U.S. Genaro’s contribution of four mosaic panels including La Guitarra, Hand … Continue reading Music Helping to Put the Pieces Together

August 2015 Employment Training Program Graduation

August 2015 Employment Training Program (ETP) Graduation Celebration: Friday, August 21st Seven young men and women celebrated their completion of Larkin Street’s ETP class, where they learned job application and interview skills, how to give a presentation, and earned their Retail Sales Certification.  From sales associate to fashion designer, all of these young people are going in … Continue reading August 2015 Employment Training Program Graduation

Performing Arts Night – bringing hope & healing through music

Performing Arts Night
Reaching for the Stars

Thank you to all who attended and supported the performance on
Thursday, August 13, 2015!

It was a beautiful night where talented youth artists from Larkin Street performed for family and friends. The pre-performance reception featured tasty snacks and beverages and youth art work on display and was a chance for everyone to visit and get to know some of the artists.

We hope you will enjoy the photo album below and plan on joining us next year!


To view highlights of the 2014 Performing Arts Night, watch the video: