My Friend’s Place Day In L.A.

January 8, 2018, marks My Friend’s Place 30th anniversary! To honor this momentous occasion Mayor Garcetti and Mitch O’Farrell have declared today My Friend’s Place Day in L.A. Here are a few ways you can get involved in the celebration:

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Mayor Eric Garcetti Declares January 8 “My Friend’s Place Day In Los Angeles”

Mayoral Proclamation Honors My Friend’s Place On Its 30th Anniversary

In recognition of the 30 years of vital and life-changing services provided by the nonprofit homeless youth resource center My Friend’s Place, The Honorable Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles, with the support of 13th District Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, announced a Mayoral Proclamation designating January 8 as My Friend’s Place Day throughout the city. Since its inception, My Friend’s Place has helped tens of thousands homeless youth between the ages 12 and 25 discover a path to wellness, self-sufficiency and a permanent exit from homelessness. In collaboration with leading social service providers and educational institutions in the region and more than 800 annual volunteers, My Friend’s Place offers a free and comprehensive continuum of care that combines emergency necessities with therapeutic, health and education services. Over the years, My Friend’s Place staff and volunteers have witnessed many of their young people move on to healthy, stable lives and achieve rewarding professions—from writers and musicians to a practicing physician.

“What started out as a simple gesture to touch and connect with another human life has grown to 30 years of community service helping the most vulnerable on our streets,” said Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell. “Thank you to My Friend’s Place for your tireless efforts to provide critical supportive services and a pathway into permanent housing.”

“We are so thankful to Mayor Garcetti, Councilmember O’Farrell and the city of Los Angeles for recognizing the hard-work and dedication of My Friend’s Place staff, supporters, volunteers and most importantly the young people who have come to us over the past three decades determined to better their lives,” commented My Friend’s Place Executive Director Heather Carmichael, “As we reflect on our 30-year history, we feel fortunate to celebrate our accomplishments, but remain resolute in our mission of developing and sustaining unique programming with the goal of ending youth homelessness, one young person at a time.”

My Friend’s Place History: On January 8, 1987, two friends working in Hollywood were compelled to help the homeless youth who populated the sidewalks just outside of their office door. Determined to effect change, no matter how small, the co-founders of My Friend’s Place, Steve LePore and Craig Scholz, began spending their break time making and distributing sack lunches to the young people living on the streets. Soon, this simple act became a grassroots movement and Steve and Craig had assembled a group of kind-hearted volunteers who traversed Hollywood delivering meals. After countless hours of interactions with these young people, the duo realized providing meals only addressed a small portion of the issue. Within a year, the idea was born for creating a judgment-free, “safe place” where intangible needs such as physical and mental health services, creative outlets and employment and education assistance could be met. Thirty years later, My Friend’s Place has grown into a dynamic resource center that offers a comprehensive continuum of services to more than 1,350 homeless youth between the ages of 12 and 25, and their children, each year. Through the expansive programming offered at its Hollywood location, My Friend’s Place provided more than 30,000 meals last year, in addition to engaging nearly 500 young people in more than 700 creative and living arts workshops across 21,000 individual visits.

Additional events in celebration of My Friend’s Place’s 30th Anniversary, including the 30th Anniversary Gala on April 7 at the Hollywood Palladium, will be announced in early 2018. For current information about its upcoming 30th Anniversary events, be sure to follow My Friend’s Place on all their social media channels listed below. 

MY FRIEND’S PLACE SOCIAL MEDIA:

Twitter: @MFPLA

Facebook: facebook.com/mfpholywood

Instagram: @myfriendsplace   

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Tough Mudder 2018

It’s year three of Team Grey’s Anatomy and the 30th anniversary of My Friend’s Place! Help us commemorate this tremendous year by joining in on the muddy fun.
Tough Mudder 2018 is March 3 & 4. Whether you’re in it for the glory, or you just want to have some fun for a good cause, signing up is as easy as 1, 2, 3. Check out the details below and we’ll see you in the mud.

 

  1. Register for the Los Angeles Tough Mudder Half
  2.  Create your Crowdrise fundraising page
  3. Fundraise like crazy! Share on social media. E-mail everyone you know. Tell your family and friends about your fundraiser. Ask everyone to join you in supporting youth experiencing homelessness.

Bonus: Win awesome prizes including Tough Mudder/Merrell prize packs, meet and greets with Giacomo Gianniotti and his fellow Grey’s Anatomy cast and more!

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End of Year Giving

In celebration of My Friend’s Place’s 30th anniversary on January 8, 2018your gift will be matched—dollar for dollar—up to $250,000 by our friends at the Happy Hippie Foundation, our Board of Directors and several generous community leaders!  Only gifts made by January 8, 2018 will be doubled, so please make a gift to bring twice the kindness, care and opportunity to our young people today!

 

“People always assume that homeless youth can get off the streets and just go back to a family. Just go back to your mom and dad. But for most of us, we didn’t have a family. And if we did, it was the family we had run from.” At the age of 14, I was put in a foster home where there wasn’t much kindness. The whole cycle of foster homes was pretty terrible. I remember getting kicked out of my last foster home and I thought to myself, “I’m just going to head to California and make my own family.” Little did I know that My Friend’s Place would become like family to me.

It was 1999 and I was 19. I got off the bus from Michigan to Los Angeles at 2 a.m. I had no idea where to go, so I went to Hollywood and just walked along Hollywood Boulevard. Pretty quickly, some of the squatter kids saw this new face and they took me in. Within three days of hitting the streets, those kids brought me to My Friend’s Place.

My crew and I would wander from place to place in Hollywood, looking for somewhere to sleep, looking for something to eat. We’d bounce from one service provider to another, but My Friend’s Place was special. We could always get a meal and snacks at My Friend’s Place, but we also got so much more. We were able to get hygiene supplies, and participate in creative arts workshops. My Friend’s Place helped me get into shelter. But the most significant thing we found at My Friend’s Place was kindness.

One of my biggest memories of My Friend’s Place was Frank, the Safe Haven Manager.

Frank was always smiling. He’s such a part of the foundation of My Friend’s Place, and I knew that I could count on Frank to be there for me. You could tell him, or any of the staff, the worst things in the world, the deepest pain you were in, and you’d be met with a hug. Not judgment. Not rejection. Just a smile and kindness.

Even though you’re rarely alone, the streets can be pretty isolating. My Friend’s Place really was my safe haven. I knew I could turn to the staff there no matter how bad things got. I knew I could always count on them. Even when we came in stinking to high heaven, the staff would say how great it was to see us. Even if I had been away for a little while, when I’d come back to My Friend’s Place, Frank would be there with a big smile and a hug. And then he would hand me my mail he’d been saving for me.

At My Friend’s Place, I always knew that people were not going to be judgmental. No one was going to force me to do something, to change. Instead, you were always approached with the idea that when you’re ready to make some changes, My Friend’s Place is here. You just let them know.

I came to My Friend’s Place off and on for a couple of years. Around the time I turned 25, I started to realize that, soon, these services would no longer be an option for me. I had just gotten out of prison and, realizing that I couldn’t go back to My Friend’s Place, I knew I needed to make some changes. Even though I was 25, My Friend’s Place still helped connect me with resources for adult services, and that’s really how I got myself into housing and found a job.

I’ve grown so much since those days on the streets all those years ago. Today, I’m a married mother of three, and I’m in my second year at USC in the Masters of Social Work program.

When I graduate next year, I want to put the following on my graduation cap:
Foster Youth. Prison Inmate. LACC Student. McNair Scholar. MSW from USC. Next: PhD?

When I think back on what lead me to become the person that I am today, there are a few people, like the staff at My Friend’s Place, and particularly Frank, who showed me what it means to make giving back a part of your work. I want my work to benefit youth who are in similar situations to where I was a few years ago.

18 years ago, when there were few things in life that I was sure of, I knew My Friend’s Place would always be there.

—Heidi, My Friend’s Place alumna


One of the reasons that I’ve enjoyed working at My Friend’s Place for 18 years is that I get to give young people an opportunity. At whatever point these youth are at in their lives, they have the ability to change. With all of the difficulties that young people experience on the streets, sometimes they forget that.

Often, our young people just need a shoulder to lean on, or need someone to talk to—not so that anyone can judge them, but just so they know that someone is listening. I want the young people to know that I’m listening, and that I care.

Many of us are fortunate to have relatives, a family, a community that we can ask for help when things are hard. Imagine being a young person on the street in Los Angeles without anyone to ask for help—with no safety net at all. These are the 1,350+ young people who will come to My Friend’s Place this year.

By giving a gift today, you can ensure that My Friend’s Place can continue to be here for these young people, offering a safety net, an opportunity to think differently about the future, or even just someone to listen when no one else will.

—Frank, My Friend’s Place Safe Haven Manager

 

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DOUBLE Your Giving Tuesday Support For My Friend’s Place!

“The thing about hunger is that there’s no worse feeling in the world. Being hungry feels like being helpless, like you can’t help yourself. ”
–Derrick, a My Friend’s Place youth

 

For young people struggling with homelessness in Los Angeles, the journey toward lives of wellness and self-sufficiency often starts with a meal offered with care and unconditional regard. For the 80-100 young people we serve each day, My Friend’s Place provides food and other essential services including showers and clothing resources that can alleviate the hardship of homelessness in a safe space where youth can begin the process of healing, transforming their lives and leading toward a permanent exit from homelessness.

Over the past 18 months, My Friend’s Place has vastly expanded our programming for youth—from creative arts workshops to internships and job readiness support. With more robust programming comes greater need to support the basic needs of youth. Food, showers, clothing, communication and transportation resources all aid young people in fully maximizing these new transformative opportunities, and are being accessed by youth in greater numbers. In the past year alone, we served more than 30,000 meals!

This Giving Tuesday, please consider investing in food and other essential services for our young people as they access the vital programs that will help them create more stable futures.

Thanks to the generous support of Facebook and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, your gift of support will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $5,000 per supporter. Only gifts made through our Facebook page on November 28 beginning at 5 a.m. (PST) will be matched, so please set your alarm and ensure that your gift of care and support for our youth can go twice as far this Giving Tuesday!

With Gratitude,

Heather Carmichael, LCSW
Executive Director

P.S. If you don’t have Facebook but would still like to be a part of our Giving Tuesday campaign, please click here to make a gift of support today!

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