Homeless Youth Connection was founded in 2010 by business owner and former Meals on Wheels board President Larry Cervarich and several associates to address the needs of homeless teens attending school within the West Valley region in Arizona. There have been over 1800 teens identified as homeless within this area alone, most of whom struggled to continue attending high school due to several risk factors. The limited social services available in the both the East and West Valleys are not equipped to deal with this particular population, who face several risk factors such as abuse, exploitation, and resorting to desperate measures to survive.
HYC began their first year by serving 80 homeless teens; the following year they assisted 92, and the year after that 128. They have been able to reach greater numbers of homeless youth each new school year and have now expanded their services beyond the West Valley area into other locations in Maricopa County, including the Mesa and Higley Unified School Districts.
The SWK team got a chance to get involved with HYC while in Arizona and contribute supplies and assistance for the teens aided by HYC’s mission.