By Adam Bonillas & Estevan Cardenas
YOTO also known as “Youth on Their Own” is a non-profit organization that helps youth that are experiencing some type of homeless issues and for them to earn their high school diplomas.
The organization provides multiple services that assist youth academically and in life.
“We [YOTO] focus on helping students achieve academic success and assisting our youth with resources such as monthly stipends, food, clothing guidance, hygiene and school supplies,” said YOTO Coordinator Sal Ramos.
Students can apply on YOTO’s website by creating an online username and submitting an online application.
“The requirements for a student to be accepted into our program are simple,” said YOTO Coordinator Mr. Jonathan Contreras. “A youth must be enrolled in school and must be experiencing homelessness or be unaccompanied on their own through no fault of their own.”
The program has helped thousands of students through school and life for more than 35 years and encourages any youth who is on his or her own to apply.
“Students who are experiencing homelessness or difficult homelife issues should apply,” said Ramos. “Sometimes it can be scary for students to say they are alone, especially when no one knows you are. YOTO is here to help and to ensure students can focus on their education and not life’s difficulties.”
[In 1986, Ann Young, a guidance counselor at Amphitheater High School, felt concerned about an increasing number of homeless students. She took it upon herself to do something about it. Young’s compassion and initiative evolved into the Youth on Their Own that we know today, which has since helped over 1,500 homeless youth. It took a lot of hard work and support from gracious volunteers over the last 31 years to get the organization on its feet. The organization gladly accepts donations from the community to keep this outstanding, necessary program continuing.]