Contact Information

OTTP-Los Angeles
19401 South Vermont Ave.,
Suite A-200
Torrance, CA 90502

OTTP-Avalon
5807 South Avalon Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90011

OTTP-San Francisco
425 Divisadero Street,
Suite # 301
San Francisco, CA 94117

Success Stories

Thanks to the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act's Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP), OTTP was able to put 162 youth to work last summer and the door was opened for 20 youth to receive permanent employment with Kmart, Marshalls, and Party City. For others it was a second chance. “If it were not for this program, I would be in jail," said J regarding the SYEP program. This seemed to be the general consensus among the majority of the youth employed at Toberman Neighborhood Center, where some were hired to work in departments such as gang prevention, maintenance, and child care. For many this was their first job. Because of their previous history as juvenile/adult offenders and gang affiliation, it is a job they would not have otherwise been given. Many youth employed at Toberman are homeless and parenting. They expressed enthusiasm about being able to buy their children clothes and shoes, things they had to go without for so long. Some were able to pay past due bills and tickets so that they could obtain their drivers license. Often, they have many barriers to employment tempting them to sell drugs to make ends meet. “I always explain to them that it is easy to sell drugs, but you can not put that on a resume,” a supervisor recalled. Now that they have participated in the Summer Youth Employment Program, they have something positive to put on their resume.

               “If it were not for this program, I would be in jail."

Anyone who sits with A will describe him as a warm person who really knows what others are feeling and makes it a point to create comfort for those he encounters. Born to Salvadorian parents who came to America as refugees during the civil war, they taught him that friends and family are the most valuable things in life. Along with relationships, a strong work ethic was inexorably built into his character. As A grew up, he tried to find ways to express the strengths taught to him, but his community lacked the resources to allow him to connect. Instead of attributing his lack of work to the slump of the economy, he internalized it as something that he was missing; A began to question his self-worth. Struggling to remain positive was a daily, sometimes hourly, battle. He describes these periods in his life as "hitting bottom," where he struggled with personal identity and meaning in life, yet he still found strength to look for work, unfortunately without success. The SYEP came at the perfect time for A. Within days of starting work, his managers identified him as a great worker who could be relied upon. As a result, he began to feel good about himself. “I'm very happy that everyone says I am a hard worker, but the truth is I don't feel I am doing anything special, I'm only working hard like everyone should do." A has completed the SYEP successfully and is in the process of being hired on permanently.  The Program has helped him recognize his strengths and increased his confidence. All he needed was an opportunity and SYEP gave him that opportunity.



N enrolled in the WIA (Workforce Investment Act) Special Service for Groups/Occupational Therapy Training Program last year. A 17 year-old foster youth with 10th grade credits, she had unclear career goals, no prior job experience, and very little support at home. In the job training/life skills program, she was eager to learn and participate in activities. She enrolled in our Female/Teen Support Group, Driver's Educational Course, and our tutorial program, where she worked to improve her reading and writing skills. Within 2 months of my working with N, she decided upon a career in social work. She also obtained a part-time job at a local high school. Since her participation in OTTP's Summer Youth Employment Program, she as earned a driver's license and is now preparing to graduate from high school and attend a City College. N. has truly developed career goals and job experiences, as well as skills that will support her in life.  

               “Going to work everyday gave me something to wake up to."

For the past year I've had the pleasure of working with my client M as his case manager. I met M at an alternative education high school when he enrolled in the OTTP class, which focuses on life skills and work readiness. M is an only child that has moved around a lot due to domestic violence, resulting in his falling behind in school credits. His father was deported after a domestic violence dispute involving him and his mother. They moved to another city after this incident, where they lived for several years until his father found them and was deported a second time. M had been up-rooted several times, moving to different cities, homes, transferring schools and having to leave friends behind only to make new ones and leave them as well.  When I first met him he had a huge chip on his shoulder and was angry. He reluctantly signed up to participate in the program, but was disruptive in class and needed constant redirection.  I knew working with him was going to be a challenge, but I was able to sit down and meet with him and we came to an understanding that he would complete the class in order to continue with a full school schedule.  At some point he realized that his OTTP support system was not going away and gradually started to open up, participate, and he actually became a pleasure to be around. M. has had several barriers to success.  My client has a support system through OTTP and now is able to share his fears, frustrations and concerns.  He has attained his basic skills math goal and is no longer deficient in this area.  He has now enlisted in the United States Army. He recently graduated from the OTTP life skills/career training class where he was able to stand in front of a room full of people and share what he has learned in the OTTP program and how it has benefited him.  M. graduated from high school on time and by doing so he attained his career planning goal as well as his leadership goal. More importantly, he began to build a better future for himself.  I believe OTTP has played a vital role in his success and look forward to continuing to support him in the future. 



When I first met Y at her high school, she was extremely timid, would not look me in the eye, barely raised her head to speak, and when I shook her hand, she was intimidated and unsure of herself.  I tried to engage her by talking to her about school, her home, the WIA/OTTP program, and anything else I could think of, although truthfully most of the time I felt I was talking to myself.  Our interaction continued this way for several months until one day in our individual session I noticed a design on her purse. The design was a gothic looking cartoon family.  When I complimented her on it, it was the first time she actually looked me in the eye and she simply said, "I drew it."  This opened up a new avenue for me to engage her. We spoke openly about her drawings, which were of landscapes, cartoon characters and flowers.  I realized my client had an undiscovered talent. At the time, OTTP was offering an opportunity for the clients to paint a mural on our Youth Center wall.  This opened many more doors for her, such as being a part of the Latina Empowerment Group and having her art displayed at an OTTP-sponsored art show. Y was one of those clients who "slips through the cracks" because she does not have behavior issues and does not act out. However, she was at risk in a different but equally serious way - she had extremely low self esteem when she became involved in the program. She has been in the program for about a year now and has completed the Career Training Course, graduated high school and is now in college working towards becoming a nurse. She credits the OTTP Program for helping her to build her confidence, make friends, obtain her first job, and enroll in college. I am very proud of the progress she has made in her life and I am thankful we could be a part of her success!

 *Additional program information can be found here.       

  

I've worked with a group of clients on a mural for a large wall in our new Youth Center. We were fortunate to have a professional artist, Nichole Blackburn, assisted and oversaw the project. Nichole has her own non-profit, "Big Sky Countries" which is dedicated to donating murals to children’s' organizations all over the world. Nichole donates all of the paints, materials and her time, and has completed murals in Thailand, the Philippines, Bolivia, New Orleans, and Torrance. Every week the clients involved came here to our new Youth Center for our group we called "Creating Our Space."  The idea behind the group was for the kids to create their own safe place and a place for kids who will come after them.  We engaged them in painting and brainstorming exercises to come up with their ideas of a safe place, and the happiest moments in their lives. Tree swings, music, beaches, balconies, the night sky and shooting stars were all examples of their ideas and they have all been incorporated into the mural. The youth have developed the ideas for the mural, learned art techniques, as well as improved their social skills in the weekly group. Additionally, the local cable company does special interest stories on local organizations doing positive work in the communities and a reporter took notice of Nichole's work.  She visited our Youth Center and was so impressed she chose to do a separate piece on our mural project.  It gave some of the youth the opportunity to be interviewed on camera, which was a wonderful experience for them. The piece later aired nationally. OTTP also hosted an unveiling party to celebrate the project's completion.