The YOTO family never ceases to amaze us!
The Arizona State Prison Complex (ASPC)-Tucson recently held a month-long fundraising event selling pizzas to inmates throughout the facility. Little Caesars pizzas were sold for $10 each with $5 from each sale going directly to Youth On Their Own. By the end of the fundraising month, over $11,600 was raised for local homeless youth!
The ASPC-Tucson, located on South Wilmot Road, houses an inmate population of almost 5,000 individuals. For several years, Correctional Officer IV Ronald Braschler has been organizing fundraising events like this one throughout the facility to support various nonprofits. Officer Braschler worked with the Department’s Central Office to get approvals for the chosen charity, vendors (in this case, Little Caesars Pizza), and items to be sold. He then coordinated with other Correctional Officer liaisons in eight participating units throughout the facility to widen the fundraising reach. Inmates in the fundraising crews helped with passing out the sold pizzas.
So, why YOTO? Officer Braschler notes that he is a foster parent and has seen firsthand how older kids –youth – can be overlooked by the system and, in some cases, become homeless. YOTO’s mission to support the high school graduation and continued success of homeless youth really resonated with him. He also liked that it was a local organization having a real and direct impact on youth in the Pima County community.
His next task was to bring his suggestion to support YOTO to the inmates for their approval. The feedback he received was very positive. “A lot of the inmates seemed thrilled about the work YOTO was doing. The inmates tend to step up much more with fundraisers that support kids. I think it hits closer to home for a lot of them since some of them have been homeless themselves. Many also have kids of their own who they can’t be there for because they are in prison,” Officer Braschler shared.
YOTO wishes to thank everyone at ASPC-Tucson that was involved in this impressive fundraising initiative, particularly Officer Braschler. Thank you all for being part of the YOTO family and for showing homeless youth that their community cares about them and their future!