SAVE A PENNY was born a year after the I  started working with the homeless community. I started out doing homeless outreach, giving out food and hygiene packages in the overpopulated area of Downtown Los Angeles known as Skid Row. I also worked as an Outreach Coordinator for the whole downtown Los Angeles region, the heart of homelessness for one of the biggest homeless provider in southern California called PATH. Working at PATH I really got a full scoop of all the barriers many individual experiencing homeless came across such as; unstable permanent living locations, this would them cause many to lose personal documents, IDs social security cards etc. I also discovered many of the individuals we did help get off the streets couldn’t maintain their housing opportunity due to lack of knowledge of independent living. As I study the matters of homelessness I notice the average amount of years many of the individuals we encountered experienced homelessness. The average was 7- 10 years and the average age was 25-35 years old. That means most started to experiencing homelessness at the age of 19- 25. After extensive research, they found out that 30% of the homeless population came straight out of foster care, or they were abused youth running away from home. Right there I realized that doing outreach wasn’t enough. My primary focus changed from just aiding the homeless to becoming effective in preventing these kids from becoming homeless in the first place. 

That’s when SAVE A PENNY was created. SAVE A PENNY is a solution to the root of the problem. Since the launch of SAVE A PENNY has already employed over 105 transitional aged youth and more than 80% are house and are either have a full-time job or enrolled full time as a student. How did this work you ask? After learning that our youth was at risk I began to start volunteering at homeless shelters that solely focused on young adults. Many of the youth I mentored all they wanted was to be heard and understood. The wanted someone to invest in them and actually believe in their dreams. I began to listen and invest more and more in them, and most of all encouraged them to share their stories and believe that their story was the number one gift! To look at your heart ached as a blessing because that will be there fire to their passion. This concept open their eyes! Confidence and ambition began to grow and this was the transformation of our SAVE A PENNY community. I decided to empower our youth by giving them an opportunity to share their story are a broader arena and at the same time create employment and well as a lifetime partnership in their journey to fulfill their purpose. I believe our stories have the power to make us or break us, my mission is to help everyone in the world to see how stories are the roadmap to your destiny.

LOST CONNECTION
Imagine being born abandoned, never knowing who your mom or dad is. Then being place in the house to house until you’re 18. If lucky, place with a family that actually cares but even then still questioning your families identity and wondering why they gave you up in the first place. Then on your 18th birthday, you are pushed out into the real world. Searching for acceptance as well as means to survive you attach yourself to the first things that help take away the thought and pain of being abandoned. Drugs become the getaway as well as your means to survive, within a couple years you are left with nothing but the drug to make sense of life.  Or let’s look at Melissa an 18-year-old straight “A” student looking to be a doctor in the future. With her father out of the picture, she became best friends with her mother. On her way coming home shes sees an ambulance in front of her home, 2 hours later she finds out she lost the closest thing to her, her mom. Melissa drops out of school and soon later diagnosed with severe depression. Melissa continued taking the pills prescribed to her after a couple of years the pills were no longer working and  Melissa decides to take on a stronger drug, heroin. She too soon lived on the streets continuing to suppress her pain and living to support her habit then support herself.
Both of the stories stated are actually real stories and many stories are very similar.
While foster care is a nationwide concern affecting 500,000 children and a statewide issue with 80,000 youth being served, Los Angeles has one of the largest foster youth populations in the country. The statistics are true on average, youth will change homes every 6 months.
Approximately ¼ of emancipated foster youth will live on the streets or in shelters.
As a result of their exposure to violence and trauma, 25% of former foster youth have been diagnosed with PTSD. This rate is six times higher than war veterans and 8 times higher than the general population.
What is the common denominator for both these stories? In both cases, they both lost something that truly mattered to them. It was a lost part of their identity they felt they would never get back. Studies show that 83% of young adults that suffer from “lost” 95% percent chance of falling into the use of some sort of substance abuse. 50% of the 95% end up being addicted to the drug chosen. These are huge numbers that lead to many of our homeless youth we work with today. Working in this population for more than 7 years I have noticed that almost all of our youth we work with suffered from “lost connection”. These “ Lost connections” creates emotional trauma which then leads to depression. With an instant gratification generation, our youth become more vulnerable to drug addiction, gang affiliation and suicide. Our youth are willing to do whatever it takes to get rid of the feeling of not be accepted by society.
“ Somebody once told me that giving a person a story about why they are in pain is one of the most powerful things you can ever do. Taking away the story for your pain is just as powerful”
The need for connection has never been greater. SEED HOUSE PROJECT & SAVE A PENNY   is committed to creating lifelong families full of passion and support. While digging into the routes of the lost connections or embracing the lost connection and making it your passion.
Our goal is to help bridge the gap between every story. Help individuals embrace their story and let their story to their passion to change the future. Our goal is for every home to be a family with the space of support and opportunity. Investing in each of our youth, whether its schooling or dream as well as simply guiding them to a vision for them self. The connection has a lot to do with acceptance, we train our mentors to accepted each individual and guide them to see the purpose in everything. Our strategy is to invest in each individual to help them see the purpose and us their individual story to empower others.  With this method, we have seen a dramatic 30% increase in our youth performance focusing on proactive activities to advance their career as well as a decrease in symptoms of depression and anger.

SEED House Project X HASBRO Housing Renovation

As part of our initiative to prevent underage homelessness, our sister brand, SEED House Project and Hasbro joined forces to renovate a house to create a positive living house for these homeless youth.

SEE US IN ACTION

Hear From Our Penny Partners

Our V.I.P Principles

VALUE

Each purchase shares the stories! Each necklace made by our PENNY smiths tells a story of what they overcame. Inspiring others going through the same to see the value of there story. We believe there is only value in a story when shared

INVESTMENT 

 Each individual employed by SAVE A PENNY is partner with a “PENNY PARTNER” These are mentors focused on empowering and investing in the individuals dreams. We believe in the power of two, creating accountability  and opportunity. We provide workshops from all areas of profession.

PROFIT

 Your Purchase helps our youth get into stable housing as well as full time jobs to lead them to achieve there dreams