Youth On Their Own (YOTO), a local 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is a drop out prevention program that supports the high school graduation of homeless unaccompanied youth in the Greater Tucson region who are in 7th – 12th grade (up to age 21). Students are enrolled in public schools—including charter and alternative schools—and are motivated to obtain their high school diplomas despite personal and financial hardship.
YOTO youth, through no fault of their own, lack a parent or long-term legal guardian physically involved in their lives and a stable, permanent nighttime residence. The absence of caring, adult support and a consistent home environment is not conducive to successful academic performance, placing this population at great risk of dropping out of high school. Statistics show that, without a high school diploma, they are likely to continue the cycle of poverty and reliance on social services, and are at increased risk for substance abuse, incarceration and mental health problems throughout adulthood.
YOTO provides students with financial assistance, basic needs and guidance as they work to obtain their high school diplomas. With community contributions and support, YOTO has assisted over 10,500 students in achieving their educational and personal goals to graduate high school and become self-sufficient, productive adults within their communities.