On October 27, Open Arms Youth Drop-in Center opened its doors in San Bernardino.
Open Arms, a branch of Family Assistance Program, strives to transform the lives of youth facing homelessness, drug abuse, domestic violence, LGBTQ+ inequality and more.
“Open Arms Youth Drop-in enter offers the youth in our community a plethora of resources such as drug prevention classes, domestic violence programs, youth shelters, human trafficking advocacy and workforce preparation assistance,” said Chloe Diaz, outreach coordinator.
The program also offers its youth participants resume building workshops, job interview preparation, enrichment activities, free wifi, laptops and computers.
“My vision for the youth drop-in center was to create a space where youth can be heard, supported and empowered. Open Arms Youth Drop-in Center Manager Levi Deatheridge and I have been advocating these issues for our youth since we were about 16 years old and in the shoes of those we are assisting today,” continued Diaz.
Diaz and Deatheridge have gained the support of California State Assemblymember James Ramos and Assemblymember Eloise Gomez Reyes, who have advocated for the need of such programs at the state level.
“We talked with our Assemblymembers Ramos and Reyes about creating a program to educate the youth and provide them an opportunity to gain self sufficiency, which is what Levi and myself were given through Family Assistance Program,” continued Diaz.
Both Ramos and Reyes attended the grand opening of the youth drop-in center and even congratulated Diaz and Deatheridge for their advocacy and program development.
“One of our goals is to continue partnering with other community leaders. We’re located next to Operation New Hope and their mission coincides with what we are doing. I’m relaying the message to all organizations that we have to be community leaders and partner other community leaders and organizations,” said Diaz. “I want to keep assisting our youth and teach them love and empathy.”
Open Arms Youth Drop-in Center is located at 323 West 7th St., San Bernardino.