How to Help YOTO Youth Succeed This School Year!

COVID-19 has caused myriad disruptions to the lives of everyone in our community, and our YOTO students are no exception. As last school year ended and the summer moved on, most YOTO students have found themselves in need of even more support than usual. In fact, this summer we saw requests for financial bill assistance go up by 50%! Many of our wonderful YOTO Family members have asked how they can help during this difficult time.

Here are FOUR ways you can help right now!

1) COVID EMERGENCY FUND

Because of the grace and generosity of our YOTO Family members, we were able to give out over $200,000 in special stipends and additional financial support this summer. Both our staff and our students have been awed and inspired by the way our community has been stepping up! As one student recently shared: “Thank you for all the resources. YOTO always has my back!”

As this unique school year gets underway, we ask our YOTO Family again to support youth experiencing homelessness as they step into classrooms and set up behind computer screens. If you can, we ask you to consider making a donation to YOTO’s COVID-19 Emergency Fund. Donations will provide the support YOTO youth need to stay in school and graduate!

Donate to the COVID-19 Emergency Fund

2) RESTART THE YEAR, RESTOCK THE MINI MALL

During this spring and summer, we were also bowled over by the support from folks wanting to bring in back to school and Mini Mall donations. We know some folks were frustrated that they couldn’t visit the office, but please know, we give your safety – and the safety of our YOTO students, who truly cannot afford to get sick – first priority. That said, we know that this “new normal” requires that we all adapt! Therefore, we’ve devised a way to both accept donations AND respect the health and safety of our YOTO Family!

With careful consideration, we’ve reopened the Mini Mall (to students only)! After months of restricting donations, however, our shelves are bare, so YOTO needs YOUR help to restock the Mini Mall for the new school year! In fact, we’re in need of some very specific supplies –  the things our kids need most right now – to make sure we can continue to offer them the basic needs items on which they depend.

Please click here for a list of exactly what is needed, as well as a complete rundown of the new donation procedures we’re asking folks to follow so that we can all stay safe as we help each other out!

3) ENCOURAGE OUR KIDS!

Even though we can’t be together, we CAN continue to encourage YOTO kids and family members to keep going in spite of all the difficulties they’re facing right now. As such, we’re encouraging folks to participate in our Take Note! Inspirational Note Writing project! Check out this lovely video made by Judi, one of YOTO’s amazing volunteers, to learn more!

4) SPREAD THE WORD

Without a doubt, this year will be tough for all of us. We know that many of YOTO’s donors, so generous in financially supporting our students, are themselves in a difficult place right now. Simply spreading the word makes such a difference!

Eventually, this crisis will end. The struggle of trying to graduate high school as a young person on one’s own, however, will still be here. Even if you can’t support YOTO right now, please remain an engaged member of our YOTO Family! Your support has already been crucial to helping YOTO youth stay stable and safe. We look forward to the day when we can celebrate together again! Until then, THANK YOU for being a member of our family!

 

“This mask represents yet another challenge that I was able to overcome.”

-Franco, 2020 YOTO Graduate