Updated: Jan 17
When I first envisioned the concept of Helping Hands Youth Center, I imagined a place where a child could walk in and receive all of the support they could possibly need.
In the beginning, this proposed mission was very open-ended. All I knew was that our local children deserved a safe space to obtain the services they need to prosper.
When the company was incorporated in 2019, our formal mission became "Preparing Louisiana youth for a brighter, more successful tomorrow."
Back then the mission was simple: to help our local kids become successful. At the time we weren't completely sure what that meant, but we were sure that no child deserved to be without food, clothing, education, and shelter.
HHYC has continued to work tirelessly to ensure that our local children have access to equitable services that provide clothing, food, educational support, or referrals to other human service organizations.
We Grow With Them
Throughout this work, we have continued to discover what our mission means. The truth is that our mission adapts with the time, so we are constantly uncovering new ways that we can help our youth prosper.
Today Helping Hands Youth Center works to provide services revolving around the Positive Youth Development Model. We believe that children who are given the proper tools can grow into successful adults and that all tools fall into one of these categories: agency, assets, contribution, and an enabling environment.
For more information on the Positive Youth Development Framework, read our blog post about it here.
These aspects work together to facilitate the framework's exact name: Positive Youth Development.
Our services currently consist of an Affordable Thrift Store, Foster Care Closet, full-scale Academics Department, Food Pantry, a Butterfly Fund, and Displacement Assistance & Prevention.
Our array of services work together to further our mission by encouraging familial stability and success. Studies show that children experiencing any form of poverty, whether intermittent or long-term, has widespread affects on the child's overall success in adulthood.
Children experiencing any form of poverty are less likely to obtain a proper education, stable housing, or a proper diet in adulthood. This outcome will, in turn, perpetuate the cycle of poverty for the children of those who lived in poverty as children themselves.
In an analysis done by Caroline Ratcliffe of the Urban Institute researchers found that, "[Never-poor children]...are less successful than their never-poor counterparts in their educational achievement and employment, and they are more likely to have a nonmarital teenage birth and some involvement with the criminal justice system. Children who spend half their childhood living in poverty fall even further behind. (Child Poverty and Adult Success)."
Persistently Poor Children - Children who are poor for at least half of their childhood (from birth to age 17 years).
Ever-Poor Children - Children who are poor for at least 1 year of their childhood, but no more than half (from birth to age 17 years).
Never-Poor Children - Children who have not experienced poverty in childhood or have not experienced poverty for a period longer than 1 year.
Our mission at Helping Hands Youth Center is unique and ever-adapting, just like our clientele.
We are always working to fill the gaps and attend to our area children in the most equitable way possible, no exceptions.
If you or your organization would like to collaborate in order to better serve our mission, please contact me at 318-224-2179, extension 0.
For more information regarding our various programs, please visit the "Our Programs" tab of this website or contact our office at 318-224-2179.
Ratcliffe, Caroline. “Child Poverty and Adult Success - Urban Institute.” Child Poverty and Adult Success, The Anne E. Casey Foundation in Conjunction with the Urban Institute, 2015, https://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/publication/65766/2000369-Child-Poverty-and-Adult-Success.pdf.