We view service learning—that is, the opportunity to give back through meaningful community service—as an essential part of our program. Service learning has been associated with enhanced self-esteem, improved academic performance, and increased community involvement. It has also been shown to help at-risk young people focus on positive activities.
At Lauren’s House, service learning allows our clients to experience the joy of sharing, and the sense of pride that comes from making a difference. In addition, it enhances their awareness of community needs and lets them see the value of reaching out to help. Our service learning activities have included…
- Visiting seniors at a local assisted living facility to sing, talk, read, or work on art projects
- Preparing and distributing bag lunches and personal-care packages to the homeless
- Partnering with the Prison Fellowship’s Angel Tree program to provide back-to-school clothes and Christmas gifts to the children of prisoners
Tutoring and Mentoring
We offer tutoring and homework help for students at all learning levels, working closely with parents and schools to support classroom success. Furthermore, our clients have the opportunity to build positive relationships with both male and female mentors while getting needed educational help and participating in our other programs.
Because emotional health is so important for success in school and life, we can arrange free professional counseling in individual or group sessions for clients in need of this service. Counseling is provided by our partner, the Community Center for Health & Wellness of Sofia University. They work to empower our clients by nurturing their strengths while helping them overcome emotional and behavioral difficulties.
Enrichment activities expose our clients to local colleges and universities, cultural and community events, the arts, and sports.
Field trips are an exciting way to expand horizons, and during our summer programs we have organized a number of outings. Through these trips, we encourage our clients to explore their dreams. Our field trips have included…
- A visit to the University of California, Santa Cruz, to talk with students and faculty, and learn about new technologies
- A trip to San Francisco’s Academy of Art University to learn about career opportunities in the arts, something of particular importance to clients interested in fashion design
- A San Francisco Giants game, offering the opportunity to participate in an event they usually see only on television
- A walking tour of San Francisco, followed by the excitement of a cable car ride to Pier 39
In addition, we offer chess lessons because playing chess develops critical-thinking and problem-solving skills that readily transfer to other settings. It teaches young people to focus their attention, think strategically, evaluate choices, anticipate consequences, and make decisions. This program has been well received, and in 2015 we held our first annual chess tournament.
We also recognize that physical activity is essential for healthy development, and we offer opportunities to enjoy activities such as swimming and team sports.
When a program extends into the lunch hour, we provide a healthy meal.
Services to Families
We offer supportive services that are designed to strengthen families. Our partner⎯the Community Center for Health & Wellness of Sofia University⎯periodically conducts workshops for the families of our clients, and we offer additional recreational and learning opportunities.
Youth Employment Opportunity
Lauren's House has partnered with One EPA since 2009 to offer summer employment opportunities for the youth in East Palo Alto through the Sponsored Employment Program.