A PLACE CALLED HOME
A Place Called Home is a safe haven in South Central Los Angeles where underserved youth are empowered to take ownership of the quality and direction of their lives through programs in education, arts, and well-being; and are inspired to make a meaningful difference in their community and the world. Mission Statement.
Founded in 1993 by Debrah Constance, APCH was created to give the youth of the inner-city a safe place where they could come after school to get a snack, do their homework, play with friends and be with people that care about them. Today more than 1,100 youth cross APCH’s threshold annually, and nearly 300 young people come home to APCH each day. The youth APCH serves are 8 to 20 years of age, male and female, mostly Latina/o and African-American.
A Place Called Home’s dynamic programs include health, nutrition, counseling, educational services, including Los Angeles Unified School District’s (LAUSD) Alternative Education Work Center (AEWC), tutoring, computer literacy, and the Shaheen Scholarship, music, dance, theater, and fine arts, recreation, and fitness. One-on-one attention is at the heart of all APCH programs and activities.
I have been involved with A Place Called Home since 1997. I serve on the Board of Directors and several committees, including the Shaheen Scholarship Committee, which assists APCH members with financial and educational support in furthering their educational and vocational aspirations. In 2010-2011, 58 APCH members were helped to be the first in their families to attend college. I also serve as the APCH-AEWC liaison, helping to promote the collaboration between APCH and the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). I stay in touch with the young people and the challenges they face each day by tutoring one day a week in the AEWC Program.
“I tutor in LAUSD’s AEWC Program at APCH. There are two AEWC classrooms at APCH for high schoolstudents who have been out of school for forty-five consecutive days and wish to graduate. To do so, they must have at least fifty credits and pass the GED and exit exams. The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) teachers, staff, and volunteers are dedicated to helping the students graduate and, hopefully, go on to college or vocational school. I am one of the volunteers. Three times a week I tutor students, mostly one on one, in math, English, history, or government. Most of the time I tutor in math, since many of the students are weak in the subject, and I have taught it for many years. It is also not the expertise of the other volunteers.”
“With time, I get to know some of the students well and learn their reasons for having dropped out of school. The reasons are varied. Some simply cut classes that didn’t interest them. One girl told me that she hated school except for math. That was the only class that she attended. She wants to be an accountant, so she needs to graduate and enroll in college. Last December she succeeded in earning her diploma. Some of the boys left school to get jobs to be able to support a girl friend and their baby. They soon learn that good jobs are hard to find without a high school education.”
“We succeed in helping between forty and fifty students to graduate each year, so the ministry is gratifying, We feel that we are making a positive difference in young lives.”
A Place Called Home is helping youth to live a full and meaningful life, empowering them to break negative cycles and lift themselves to a stronger, better place where they can make positive choices and participate fully in taking responsibility for their lives.