YOTO, also known as Youth On Their Own, was established in 1986 by Ann Young at Amphitheater High School in hopes of helping homeless teens. This program was made possible with the help of local churches, local foundations and many concerned citizens in Pima County.
Today, YOTO continues to help financially unstable students who are invested in academics. Pueblo’s Learning Support Coordinator, Ms. Veronica Vironet, who has worked with YOTO for three years described the way the program has grown throughout the years.
“Today we are doing a better job of promoting the program and giving more recognition to its purpose and what it does to help students,” said Vironet.
Due to higher recognition, the program has increased in student numbers in recent years.
“This year alone  there are already 22 students in the YOTO program,” said Vironet, “and applications are still coming in.”
She added that the program provides financial aid to the students who are enrolled at Pueblo. This includes a stipend for satisfactory grades [A’s and B’s] and regular daily attendance.
This stipend helps students with the money they require for paying bills and/or sports or club enrollment. Besides providing financial assistance, YOTO also offers a food pantry and access to a clothing bank.
“The only requirement that students need to verify to be in this program is to prove that they are living away from their parents through no fault of their own,” Vironet said.
She said that her door is always open in the main office and that she will walk students through the process of applying for YOTO, which is now exclusively completed on-line. (www.yoto.org)