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Youth On Their Own holds school supply drive

Posted at 2:42 AM, Aug 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-02 05:45:10-04

KGUN9 is proud to announce Give Local Tucson.

Each month KGUN9 and our media partners choose one charity to receive free advertising time on television and radio. The exposure is valued at more than one million dollars in 2018. The non-profit for the month of July is Youth On Their Own (YOTO).

When Hope graduated from Alta Vista High School last spring, she was working two jobs.

The 17-year-old had a rocky relationship with her family, so she was living on her own while going to school. 

"My senior year of high school I just didn't live with my family," Hope said. "I worked on getting emancipated, got my own apartment, and throughout all of that YOTO helped me a lot."

YOTO is a high school dropout prevention organization for homeless youth in Pima County.

The non-profit offers students like hope up to 140 dollars a month if they keep their grades up.

YOTO has a mini-mall where teens can get the essentials like food and clothes.

Guidance counselors are also available to give advice.

"We have some program coordinators and they help these kids access services that already exist and also connect them to certain services they're able to provide them through partnerships with local businesses," said Bethanny Neumann, the director of development for YOTO. 

Last year YOTO served 1,700 kids in the county -- more than in the previous two years.

Hope says YOTO motivated her to do well in school. She's working full-time and eventually wants to go to college.

Despite the tough stuff that was going on in Hope's world, YOTO showed her there are people in our community who care.

"When I really realized that there were people here that actually did care was getting a Christmas present on Christmas," Hope said. "I mean I wasn't expecting one form anyone and when i got one from YOTO that was really nice."

YOTO is having a back to school drive. Here is a link on how you can donate.