The Santa Clarita Valley Youth Project has been serving local youth through junior high and high schools since 2000.
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They currently reach as many as 25,000 students at 13 schools, especially those who are at-risk, low-income, uninsured, poor academic performers, bilingual or socially marginalized, according to their website.
Through social awareness campaigns, peer mentoring and support groups that address grief, pregnancy, family trouble and other issues, the Project seeks to equip teens to live successful, healthy lives.
All these services are free to students and covered through donations.
Most recently, the Project held the “Cards for a Cause” poker tour and their seventh annual Hold ‘Em Not Hassle ‘Em Poker Tournament fundraiser back-to-back on Saturday.
The money raised will go towards giving those 25,000 students better access to free resources.
To help put faces to the numbers, Project staff shared several stories student stories:
“A 15-year-old male student has been working with the Youth Project for the past year on coming out and the struggles that go along with being transgender. Last week he finally gained the courage to open up to one of his teachers and the whole class. He was happy to share with his Youth Project mentor that the class was supportive and he feels hopeful that this will be a great year.”
“A 12-year-old male student is struggling as he watches his father go through dialysis. He is having a hard time watching his father who is not taking care of himself and the boy feels helpless. He was told by his father that when he passes he needs to be the man of the house and take care of his mother and younger sister; a huge responsibility for a 12 year old.”
“A 15-year-old female student is working with her Youth Project counselor on coping with anger and the aftereffects of abuse she experienced as a child. She was sexually abused by a family member as a child and physically abused by a step-father. She is grateful to now be living in a place where she feels safe but is struggling to move past the abuse.”
“A 16-year-old female student is coping with the loss of a peer. She shared with her mentor that her final interaction with her classmate involved a verbal altercation, and she feels guilty that this will be the final memory she has of him. She feels disappointed and upset with herself and is working with her Youth Project mentor to overcome her guilt.”
“A 17-year-old female student struggles with the inconsistency of her relationship with an absent father. She wants to repair their relationship, but father is dealing with drug addiction, the birth of a child with a different spouse and financial troubles. She is working on establishing healthy boundaries, while trying to be more compassionate and patient.”
“In a high school boy’s issues group, a young man disclosed that he feels lonely and isolated on the campus. Upon hearing this, another young man offered support and invited his peer to hang out with him and his friends during breaks. The Youth Project counselor is happy to be a part of these relationships being formed as extensions of support beyond the group.”
To learn more about the SCV Youth Project, click here or call 661-257-9688.
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Source: Santa Clarita News