Transformative Education Program

The Transformative Education Program is a vital part of My Friend’s Place continuum of care. Through its focus on creative and life skills programming we: 1) equip youth with marketable skills, 2) encourage positive behaviors, 3) teach youth how to connect with resources that improve their self-sufficiency, and 4) create an alternative way for staff to build rapport with youth who are reluctant to access more intensive health and mental health services.

Creative and Living Arts Program:
We offer a range of creative arts and life skills enrichment workshops that encourage self-expression and development. These self development workshops are an effort to extend our non-threatening, life affirming philosophy to youth who are hesitant to engage in more traditional programming and treatment. The use of creative processes that engage all of the senses supports healthy increased perceptual awareness, cognitive activity, and the ability to more clearly communicate one’s own process. Participation and success in creative self expression is an opportunity for the youth to improve self esteem, hope, and pro-social behavior. These workshops serve as a stepping-stone for engagement in our case management programs.

Creative Writing
Circus Arts
Arts & Crafts
Scholarship Program
On-Site Internships

Life Skills and Employment Readiness Program:
Because most of the homeless youth accessing services at My Friend’s Place have had negative educational experiences within the foster care or the juvenile justice systems, we have tailored our life skills and employment programming to counteract those negative perceptions and draw the young people into positive and affirming opportunities. Our intimate, onsite workshops cultivate basic vocational skills such as interview preparation, resume writing, basic computer literacy, internet job searching and other soft skills. In addition, we offer crucial support services such as transportation and professional clothing assistance, which often prove a significant impediment to sustainable employment. Special guest speakers periodically visit to offer information on a range of fields and answer questions from participants.

The team of employment staff at My Friend’s Place, including an Employment and Education Specialist, works to give youth skills that are specifically targeted at young adults entering the workforce. Once a young person obtains employment, My Friend’s Place provides ongoing support to facilitate job retention. Our weekly Employment Lab affords youth the opportunity to work with dedicated volunteers and My Friend’s Place staff on everything from resume writing and interview skills to job hunting and soft-skill preparedness.

My Friend’s Place is actively seeking job development partnerships in the community. We are working to find employers who are interested in giving these young people an opportunity at employment, which truly means a chance at exiting homelessness.  When employers offer an opportunity, we engage those young people who have been working closely and successfully with staff in the Employment Program and are equipped to take this next step into self-sufficiency.

About The Corner Collective
Driven by the creative energy of young people engaged in programming at My Friend’s Place, The Corner Collective is an income-generating enterprise that offers youth experiencing  homelessness an opportunity to build skills, engage in self expression through a variety of mediums,  and earn income through their creative endeavors.

More than just a place for young people to sell artwork, The Corner Collective provides the youth of My Friend’s Place a forum to showcase their talents and artistry. The Corner Collective also serves as a platform for young people to share their voices and perspectives, a gallery where their work can be displayed and appreciated and a means through which youth can develop the self-regard, skills and competencies that will support their journey toward lives of stability and self-sufficiency. Visit The Corner Collective at

The Shift:

In 2016, My Friend’s Place introduced our newest program, The Shift—an intensive employment readiness program that helps homeless youth see a more stable future for themselves and to pursue meaningful steps toward self-sufficiency by building internal assets and work readiness skills in a safe and supported environment.

The Shift, which served 30 homeless youth in the program’s first year, provides each participant with 22 weeks of case management, specialized weekly support with an Employment Specialist and more than 150 hours of onsite experiential learning through a supported internship at My Friend’s Place. Unlike more traditional job readiness programs, The Shift provides both job skills training and social emotional learning and development to support the success of homeless youth in seeking and maintaining employment.

If you’re interested in learning more about how you can support The Shift, please contact Susan Zeren Dutra, Director of Development, at (323) 908-0011 ext. 110 or

Life Skills Training
Homework Tutoring
GED Tutoring and Financial Assistance
Enrollment Assistance
English Language Tutoring
Computer Training
Resume Writing
Interview Skill Building
Job Search Strategies
On-Site Internship Opportunities
Supported Employment
Legal Clinic
Benefits Assistance
Multicultural Education
Life Skills
Voter Registration
Youth Council
Self-advocacy Training

Click here to read Stories & Voices of hope from My Friend’s Place.

Support the Transformative Education Program