Helping At-Risk Youth and Adults Flourish and Reach Their Potential

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March 23, 2023

African American Mental Health and Wellness (AMEN) team is collaborating with KAZI FM 88.7 in producing a radio series to highlight the importance of addressing mental health and physical wellness in the African American community. The monthly series will feature AMEN team members from the School of Nursing, leaders from Mt. Zion Baptist and Rehoboth Baptist churches, and community organizations who provide mental health resources and support in Travis County. 

Helping At-Risk Youth and Adults Flourish and Reach Their Potential

March 22, 2023 Podcast:

Audio file

Moderators Shannon Jones and Jacki Hecht interviewed Michael Lofton, the Founder and CEO of the African American Youth Harvest Foundation and Youth Resource Center. Mr. Lofton is a well-known Austin philanthropist, whose influence and passion has significantly impacted numerous at-risk communities, including youths and families throughout the greater Austin area. The AAYHF just celebrated its 16th year of providing community service.

According to recent reports, Black and African American residents of Austin/Travis County are disproportionately more likely to be unhoused, in jail, and/or living in poverty. Similar trends exist within Hispanic/Latinx communities. The African American Youth Harvest Foundation (AAYHF) is trying to close those gaps in a number of important ways. The AAYHF and Youth Resource Center is a one-stop shop that provides resources under one roof for approximately 4,000-7,000 youths and families annually. Lofton shares that he collaborates with many other nonprofit organizations, such as the City of Austin and the Black Men’s Health Clinic to offer an array of services.

The AAYHF and Youth Resource Center offer education and support through Science, Education, Technology, and Mathematics (STEM) programs, certificate programs, and summer youth programs. AAYHF and Youth Resource Center strive to engage and motivate individuals to explore and develop new interests while building on current passions. The programs have successfully assisted many adults and youths in navigating through today’s complex society.

Many youths and adults are facing serious mental health and substance use challenges. To address these issues, licensed counselors are available to talk through these hardships and connect people with community resources and services. Additional resources are needed to better address these challenges including mentors, volunteers, and program cofacilitators. As Ben Carson, the former United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development once said, “Happiness doesn’t result from what we get, but from what we give.”

For more information and to sign up for the AAYHF Newsletter/programs visit the African American Youth Harvest Foundation. To give a donation to the AAYHF, visit the Donate AAYHF or call Michael Lofton at 512-585-6696.

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