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Community Corner: San Francisco Nonprofit Offers Homeless Teens Second Chance

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Larkin Street Youth Services helps bring in teens off the streets. (LarkinStreetYouth.org)

Larkin Street Youth Services helps bring in teens off the streets. (LarkinStreetYouth.org)

KCBS Community Corner
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Larkin Street Youth Services provides much needed help to teens who somehow end up on the streets.

For the past 29 years, the organization has been helping these vulnerable teens.  Last year, they were able to reach out to more than 4,000 kids through their services.

Their upcoming annual golf tournament on September 16th at Lake Merced Golf Course will raise much needed funds to help them continue their work.

Kathie Lowry, Chief Development Officer of Larkin Street Youth Services, said these young people ages 13 to 24 usually come to them because they have no other place to go.

KCBS’ Connie C. Kim talks to Kathie Lowry of Larkin Street Youth Services:

“They come to us sometimes because their families or their communities have discriminated against them because of their sexual orientation, sometimes they’re just leaving foster care, sometimes they’re coming from very dysfunctional families where there is drug abuse or violence or sometimes there’s so much conflict in their family that they want to escape it,” Lowry explains.

In San Francisco alone, an estimated 5,700 youth are homeless and/or marginally housed annually.

Larkin Street Youth Services offers shelter services, medical services and case management to help these kids turn from the streets and get supportive housing, an education and job training.

“These young people are just like any other teenager and young adult,” Lowry described the teens they see everyday.  “They just want a safe place to live, they want a job, they want an education.   They want to be with someone they can trust; they want to meet someone they can trust that can help them.”

The committed staff, board of directors and team of volunteers get the job done.

“We have volunteers who do things like come in and cook meals after work.  Some just come in and help with homework, or just sit and chat, or play board games.  We have group volunteers who will come in and do a group project like preparing a meal for 40 people or painting a site or cleaning up the garden,” Lowry said there are many volunteer opportunities and they welcome anyone willing to help.

When asked how she felt about being involved with an organization like this one, Lowry said, “It’s been wonderfully inspiring … I’ve learned more than I could ever impart.”

To find out more about the nonprofit and their upcoming golf tournament fundraiser on September 16th at Lake Merced Golf Course go to www.LarkinStreetYouth.org.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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