Laura and Mildred are first generation college students attending Los Angeles City College. They currently live in Pico Union, sharing a small home with four younger siblings and their parents. Both Youth Workforce Services (YWS) participants had struggled with the issues other students face while navigating distance learning. A crowded home, inadequate space to foster a learning environment, coupled with additional responsibilities of caring for their siblings, had made it nearly impossible to get through a school day. Laura and Mildred tried their best to make it work. The pressure increased after their father’s employment was affected by the pandemic. Both young participants set out to find employment to help their family stay afloat.
They became aware of an opportunity for a paid internship through communications on their school’s social media page. The Student-to-Student program, which YWS piloted in partnership with the Mayor’s Office, seemed almost too good to be true, Mildred expressed when she was connected to PLN. Laura and Mildred both qualified for the program and were more than excited to be able to participate. Their paid internship with PLN would involve assisting their younger siblings with distance learning activities. Although the situation at home would be no different, the earnings from their paid internship with PLN would really help the family. Laura and Mildred worked together on a schedule to help the younger children and support each other so neither would lose focus in their own schoolwork. PLN staff checked in at least once a week with the participants to make sure we could support with any issues or needs.
This was also a time for Laura and Mildred to reflect and talk about ways to address any behavior and academic difficulties their siblings were experiencing. PLN staff guided them in communicating with educators and advocating for support to assist their brother who had trouble remaining motivated during his sessions. Laura and Mildred successfully completed the PLN internship program. They hope to remain connected to PLN and continue to receive regular support from our food distribution sites and attend workshops.
Laura and Mildred look forward to our center re-opening and having a comfortable space to support their educational needs.