Hollywood non-profit helps homeless youth navigate distanced learning

HOLLYWOOD (KABC) -- While many LAUSD students will attend classes virtually from home this upcoming school year, what about those students who don't have a home?

An organization called My Friend's Place in Hollywood is helping students experiencing homelessness navigate distanced learning.

"We are a drop-in resource center for homeless youth in Hollywood. We see age range 12 to 25," said Transformative Education Manager Camilla Duarte-Brannstrom.

According the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, there are about 4,600 transition-aged homeless youth between the ages of 18 and 24 in Los Angeles.

When the pandemic hit, My Friend's Place acted fast.

"We immediately opened our sidewalks to help young people with food and essentials. We've opened up in our back-parking lot for one on one case management, employment and educational support," said Duarte-Brannstrom.

During this time, 10 teens have benefitted from a scholarship at My Friend's Place called the Impact Scholarship started by alumni Sheryl Recinos.

"What we do is we give young people up to $1,000 a year to support with devices tuition, supplies, access to internet, whatever it is that they may need," said Duarte-Brannstrom.

Christopher White is one of those ten.

White became homeless last year due to family problems and issues at home.

But with the help of My Friend's Place, he recently overcame homelessness.

He now has his own housing and is about to be a first-year student at Los Angeles City College.

"I was able to get a scholarship from MFP to get my laptop and everything like that to be cool through this pandemic since it's online schooling. My WiFi and everything is cool, I can be on Zoom and stuff like that so I can actually attend," said White.

If you want to help students in need, visit myfriendsplace.org.
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