featured graphic for The Youth Center

The Youth Center issues plea for community support in difficult times

Since 1952, The Youth Center of Los Alamitos has been transforming children’s lives one family at a time through collaborative social, educational and recreational programs, and we could never have done it alone! Our Community Partnerships include the Los Alamitos Unified School District, the City of Los Alamitos, Rossmoor Community Service District, the Seal Beach Lions and Leos Clubs and many local companies and individuals committed to serving kids and families in a meaningful way.

The Youth Center offers after school programs, music lessons, summer camps for teens and littles, daycare on no-school-days and kid’s night out, scholarships and more to kids from 5 to 18 years of age.

So far, the year 2020 has proven to be a challenging one due to Covid-19 closures and we have had to cancel our in-person classes and our annual golf tournament fundraiser, as well as scaling back Camp S.H.A.R.K., our biggest program (a fun-filled, electronics-free summer camp) losing in excess of $100,000 in just two short months!

While adjusting to our “new normal” we have made some amazing progress during this unprecedented time:

  • The Youth Center was a finalist in 2020 UCLA Social Enterprise Academy. On May 28, we learned we had won $11,000! This is a prestigious award – the equivalent of winning an Academy Award. Ten amazing nonprofits from all over California competed for this prize. To hear our agency took second place brought tears to our eyes.
  • Free Childcare for Essential Workers was opened on June 1 in partnership with the historical Plaza and Casa Youth Shelter. We filled up in just one week! Families from Los Alamitos, Rossmoor, Seal Beach and surrounding communities signed up for this program and thank us daily for bringing this service to our hometown heroes.
  • We launched our Charity Etsy Store (Shark4Kids) that offers items made by volunteers and our S.H.A.R.K. (Science, Hands-on, Art, Recreation, Knowledge) Camp in a Box that has lots of activities, crafts and projects kids can do at home, without using their electronics. 468 projects were delivered just in 30 days. Also, our donate a box page is live, which allows more fortunate families to donate to a child in need.
  • Our programs during COVID19 pandemic are provided online. We were able to provide Music classes remotely to 260 children, Tutoring and Mentoring services to over 180 children. We were able to launch online classes just 1 week after the shutdown and had positive feedback from students and parents.
  • We launched a Free Resources Page for parents and volunteers that has been visited by over 5,000 people in the past 2 months.
  • We applied for and got approved for a PPP Loan and were able to bring back 100% of our staff. Many of you know the application is arduous, but we got approved early on – a benefit to us as an organization and to you as our community.

As we reopen our programs for kids and get back to our offices, we find ourselves in need of alternative ways to raise funds for The Youth Center. We are rallying our supporters and our community to donate whatever they can to help us keep our doors open and continue to serve the kids and families in our community through and beyond this crisis. We know there are many causes you can support, and we greatly appreciate any amount you can spare to change children’s lives! Donations can be made at www.theyouthcenter.org.

This article was written by Lina Lumme, The Youth Center CEO.