SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwired - Mar 19, 2014) - Larkin Street Youth Services kicked off their 30th Anniversary with the 12th annual fund-raising gala benefit, Paving the Way for Our Youth, on March 14, 2014. Paving the Way's 2014 theme "30 Years Giving Hope" brought together youth alumni, supporters, board, staff and volunteers from all decades of the agency's history. The event sold out with over 450 community leaders and philanthropists attending at the Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco. Cheered on by special guests, Former San Francisco 49er and Super Bowl Champion, Harris Barton, Mark Buell, Civic Leader, and America's Cup yachtsman, Brad Webb, the benefit event raised a record $1 million in support of Larkin Street's programs for homeless, runaway and at-risk youth. Over eighty percent of the funds raised by Paving the Way, over $850,000 this year, will go directly to supporting the organization's programs.
For 30 years, Larkin Street has been at the forefront building new approaches to better meet the evolving needs and challenges faced by homeless young people and sharing these with other non-profits, nationally and internationally. With over 3,500 youth served each year, Larkin Street's goal is to provide a full spectrum of support to youth that will enable them to move on to independence. The organization has a long history of continuing to raise the bar so that youth ages 12-24 have full access to opportunities which can put them on a path to a positive future -- from stable housing to a solid education and self-sustaining employment to health and wellbeing. In 2013, the organization launched a 5-year strategic plan which incorporates a new model of more integrated education, employment readiness and housing services tied to longer term, sustainable outcomes for youth clients.
Special guest Harris Barton remarked, "When I learned more about the stories of Larkin Street's youth, I realized how important the work they do really is. These youth are often on the street because it is safer than their own homes. This organization is a life saver, literally. It was an honor celebrating their 30 years of history helping to change the lives of over 75,000 young people."
Adamar, a client of Larkin Street, was presented with the 2014 "Going the Distance" Larkin Street Youth Achievement Award honoring youth who have made the greatest strides from where they began to where they are today, overcoming significant barriers on the path to realizing their goals.
"When I first came to San Francisco, I quickly found myself homeless, broke, and with no job," said Adamar. "But Larkin Street stepped in and provided me with a stable home-base. With the help of Larkin Street, I have learned how to live independently and they gave me confidence in my skills in education and employment. With their help, I am now enrolled in City College and working towards getting into a four year university and then law school. I plan to continue with this successful momentum and one day give back to the community."
Since 2003, the Paving the Way Gala has raised over $6.3 million for Larkin Street's youth as well as raising community awareness about the needs of homeless youth and the benefits to society of helping them change their life trajectories and move on to positive futures. Three out of four youth who complete the organization's comprehensive programs exit street life and for every youth that exits street life, society saves more than five times that by not incurring the costs of long-term intervention.
About Larkin Street Youth Services
San Francisco's Larkin Street Youth Services is an internationally recognized leader in providing effective housing, education, employment and health services to at-risk, homeless and runaway youth. Larkin Street reaches youth ages 12-24 through 15 locations and 25 programs. Three out of four youth who complete the organization's comprehensive programs exit street life. For more information, please visit www.larkinstreetyouth.org.
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