“We need to help the homeless community; it is not a crime to be without housing. Seeing them as burdens only harms the community as a whole and neglecting their needs will only ignore the overall problem until it is too big for us to handle. For that reason, we need to help the homeless individuals because we do not know what they are going through.”
These are the words from Julissa Marquez a beautiful young lady who has volunteered for at least 6 years at our Antelope Valley Transition Aged Youth Drop-in Center (AV TAYCenter). In the last 5 years she brings goody bags as gifts for our youth during the holidays. Her gifts give a sense of community and puts a smile on the faces of our transitional homeless youth in the community of Lancaster. She has been purchasing the items with her own money. Her young nephew Sebastian helped her put together the goody bags and she is teaching him that a little gesture of support goes a long way in the lives of these homeless individuals. She stated, “I want to teach Sebastian that making a difference isn’t just for adults or wealthy philanthropists. He can make a positive impact in his neighborhood at any point in his life.” Not only does she help our youth, but she also gathers toiletries, brushes, blankets and other items to make care packages that she delivers to the homeless population in the AV.
Julissa says that working closely with the youth at the AV TayCenter inspired her to continue giving. She continues to say that our youth need extra support and resources and as kind people we should not create negative stereotypes as we do not know why these individuals are in that situation.
Julissa is currently enrolled in a master’s program while working in a local school district. Julissa currently serves her students as a bilingual aide who also manages academic and emotional support groups. Her goal of becoming a high school counselor and her passion for helping students with adversities like homelessness and immigrant experiences will make her a strong resource in our valley. She is a great example of a young individual with so much kindness and compassion for individuals in need.