History and Mission

Youth Opportunities United, Inc. was established in 1988 at the request of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to supplement the service of the County’s Department of Children’s Services to the tens of thousands of abused and neglected children which the Department served. Y.O.U. was designed as a means of reaching out to corporations, individuals and foundations to solicit help in funding goods, services and financial assistance for these youth. Projects which Y.O.U. took on were those for which there were no governmental funds available. The Y.O.U. Board continues to work closely with the
County’s Department of Children and Family Services over the decades to identify special needs and create solutions.

In its first year, Y.O.U. raised $45,000 and funded special needs of the children, such as school uniforms, emergency dental work, furniture, camp for a disabled child, and graduation expenses. Many of these initial fundings eventually led Y.O.U. to create programs which served even greater populations. Y.O.U. solicited orthodontists to donate their services and labs to donate materials so that orthodontia could be provided to DCFS youth. Similar programs solicited furniture for families or single parents of former foster youth, provided graduation expenses, awarded certificates for books, sent hundreds of kids to camp, and provided scholarships to graduating youth.

Y.O.U.’s emphasis on the needs of youth who graduated out of DCFS care resulted in job-days at United Airlines, the Fashion Institute, and similar venues to introduce teens to life in the real world. Since 1992, the Y.O.U. Animagination Festival and subsequently the Art Camp, have introduced students to possible careers in the visual arts, with emphasis on building self-esteem, the benefits of hard work, and the knowledge of one’s true abilities.

The reality is foster youth experience enough challenges throughout their lives. When they are emancipated from the foster care system, the need for post secondary education is more important than ever.  This is why Y.O.U. puts considerable effort towards raising funds to award scholarships for college bound foster youth.  In the last 10 years, Y.O.U. has provided thousands of dollars for scholarships, helping LA County foster youth fund college tuition. This money has helped enable foster youth to become more self-sufficient and move forward with their education goals and achieve their dreams. Since Y.O.U. is made up of committed volunteers, 100% of your support will go towards these valuable and much needed scholarships. Click the "Donation" Tab to make a Donation to help support our Foster Youth Scholarship Fund.

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