Pima County is home to thousands of youth and for some, staying in school can be difficult. The Tucson-based nonprofit “Youth on Their Own” (YOTO) has been assisting homeless teens from across Pima County for the past 30 years.
Alexis Westmiller is one of those teens, who recently graduated from Palo Verde High School. The 17-year-old Tucsonan applied for the YOTO program after going through a string of family complications and bouncing from house to house. The unstable nighttime living environment led Alexis to YOTO, recommended by her school counselor. From gaining additional job experience to staying on track in the classroom to becoming more confident, Alexis said the YOTO family has taught her a lot about herself and life overall. While she may not have had traditional family support on her road to graduation, she did have another family behind her back until the end; those she met at YOTO.