Please meet another one of our inaugural ambassadors, Sara K Thompson (RHHS ‘96)! During the 2015 grant cycle, Sara advocated for an organization called Youth On Their Own (YOTO), and the Foundation provided close to $5,000 in program support to the non-profit. YOTO is a drop-out prevention program that seeks to help homeless youth stay graduate high school.
Sara got involved in the organization when she was teaching high school math and drama and discovered that some of her students were homeless and received help from YOTO. Sara started to learn more about the organization, which provides “supplementary assistance for homeless teens in school through a mini mall where they can get food and other items such as paper or hygiene products. They also provide grade-based stipends to reward academic achievement and provide bus passes to assist students who do not have a car.” At the time this grant was provided, an average of $1,260 was provided per student through the monthly stipend program. Additionally, YOTO provides access to special needs and emergency services, including additional financial assistance and free medical care. Sara said that “homelessness is a larger issue in Tucson than I realized,” and that YOTO does “amazing work to reach out and support teens that are in danger of leaving school because of having nowhere to live. Being a teenager is hard enough without having to worry about where to sleep, how to shower, or how to get to and from school.”
Sara graduated from Frostburg State University in with a degree in Theater Arts. She currently works as a Program Facilitator at Kitt Peak National Observatory Visitor Center, in Tucson, AZ.