As we emerge from this pandemic and transition to the next chapter, I continue to be amazed and be inspired by the creativity of our staff and the young people we serve. While we’re seeing new opportunities on the horizon, there are still new challenges ahead – both for staff and young people experiencing homelessness.
During the pandemic, our staff members have unfailingly shown up as a source of strength, ensuring that young people still had a community to turn to even as they grappled with the impact of COVID-19. At Larkin Street, we’ve committed to doubling down on our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) efforts ensuring that we continue to create an equitable and inclusive workplace while evolving as needed. We believe that a stable connection between young people and the staff members who guide them out of homelessness is crucial to the work we do.
Additionally, for young people to be able to create a future where they thrive, we need to meet new demands with new strategies. As a result of becoming homeless, young people face obstacles in their education, and the pandemic has exacerbated this. While our Larkin Street Academy has done an excellent job helping young people reach their academic goals, post-secondary education continues to be out of reach for young people experiencing homelessness.
In order for young people to successfully emerge from this pandemic with the tools they need to succeed, we need to shift the way we operate. More and more, we’re seeing young people in our programs prioritize work over education. At Larkin Street, we are seeing a 10% decline in enrollments and a 15% increase in the risk that a young person will leave school early. We believe that innovative interventions like direct cash transfers for young people most impacted by poverty will help lighten the burden of having to choose between a Bachelor’s degree or holding a
full-time job to pay for more immediate needs like food.
As an organization, Larkin Street is constantly evolving to accommodate the needs of young people. And with our youth’s leadership, staff’s dedication and your support, we know we’ll get there. As a person and a leader, I’m learning to listen better, reflect and to be as bold as the young people we serve in advocating for their needs. I hope you’ll join me in creating a world where young people experiencing homelessness can thrive!
Together we all thrive,
Larkin Street Youth Services