The Goal of LAYN’s Education program seeks to identify and eliminate barriers to academic growth, provide concrete support and advocacy for the educational rights of homeless youth along with helping them establish and achieve realistic academic goals.
The LAYN Education team makes it a priority to ensure that our youth experience the most appropriate learning program, matched to their individual needs. Because we understand that many youth have an academic history that does not always reflect their full academic potential, we assess the actual needs of youth and then determine a plan of action. This team of professionals provides direct services and advocacy, guided by the McKinney Vento Act, towards school enrollment, college application assistance, tutoring, life skills training and mentoring. Our team believes that all youth deserve the chance to be prepared for a successful, productive adulthood, and therefore will embrace and not discriminate against any youth regarding their race, gender, creed, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and personal beliefs.
The goal of LAYN’s Education Program is to customize an appropriate school placement based on youth needs and goals. After conducting an initial interview of the youth’s educational history, academic goals and performance, our education team works in conjunction with the youth to determine the best school setting. LAYN has established relationships with several different types of schools allowing the youth to continue their academic and educational goals with little to no disruption. Besides enrolling youth in traditional school settings, LAYN also works with several GED programs, independent study schools, continuation and community day schools, and adult school programs. Throughout the enrollment process and beyond, LAYN plays a strong advocacy role around special education placement and testing, credit recovery, and transcript retrieval.
Tutoring services are offered for youth residing in our emergency shelter and group home programs. Emergency shelter youth receive tutoring pertaining to their current class schedule. These tutoring sessions are aimed at ensuring that youth are successfully completing their assignments and are mastering the grade level standards taught in school. Students who are waiting to be enrolled continue to participate in group tutoring which focuses on general cross-grade level and cross-curricular skills such as note taking, reading a variety of text, vocabulary development through context clues, etc.
Youth in the group home program receive tutoring in both their current school assignments as they relate to grade level standards, in addition to intensive tutoring around Math and English skill gaps, CAHSEE preparation and SAT/ACT preparation. Youth are assessed in a specific area, and assessment results are used to establish tutoring goals which are reassessed and re-evaluated on a quarterly basis.
The LAYN tutoring program is made possible not only by LAYN staff but also through partnerships with LAUSD and School on Wheels. These programs provide skilled volunteer tutors and LAUSD teachers who support our youth once they are enrolled in school.
Psycho-Education and Life Skills Training
Youth at our emergency shelter and group home facilities attend weekly psycho-educational groups that use "Seeking Safety," an evidence based practice for individuals who have experienced trauma and often substance abuse. These groups teach coping skills and techniques for handling difficult life situations with "safety" and "wellness" being the primary focus and goal. Youth are asked to make healthy, safe, and positive commitments to change in their lives every week. All psycho-educational groups are led by licensed mental health professionals and supervised clinical interns.
In addition, youth participate in weekly life skills groups focused on both cognitive and non-cognitive skills. Because many homeless youth lack basic life skills, the life skills curriculum at LAYN focuses on explicit instruction of various key topics. Classes teach nutrition, personal hygiene, sex-education and safety, money management, inter-personal relationships and stress management.
LAYN mentors are a key factor in the success of our youth. Many youth form lasting bonds with their mentors that continue way beyond their time at LAYN. Mentors serve as positive adult role models helping youth build self-esteem and motivation. They also provide educational support and guidance, career exploration and job shadowing, and positive social experiences. Our mentors assist the youth in setting goals and help coach them toward accomplishing these goals.
As an alternative option to individual mentoring, LAYN also offers a group mentoring program. Youth are placed in a cohort of 3-4 youth to one adult mentor. Our group mentors work with the youth to establish trusting and positive relationships with other group members. Each cohort builds and implements a service learning project in the community.
College Application Assistance
Many youth in the LAYN program pursue higher education and go on to attend community college or a four year college and university. Youth pursuing higher education receive guidance from the LAYN Education and Tutoring Specialist on a one on one basis. Youth are given support around SAT/ACT preparation, completing college applications, college tours, financial aid and scholarships and the overall transition to college.
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