LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — HELP of Southern Nevada just got a major boost in helping house and improve life for homeless young people in Las Vegas from AT&T. And those young people also got a dose of inspiration.
Nicole Bastos, a UNLV law student and president of La Voz, talked about her health struggles after a botched medical procedure left her temporarily paralyzed while growing up in family that didn’t have the financial resources to fight back.
"Courage takes different forms,” said Bastos. “Empathy is an amazing powerful tool to use. And self-love is going to get you through that struggle."
Instead of the usual parade of dignitaries and corporate execs, the launch of the Believe Las Vegas Initiative focused on motivational presentations. Frances Hampton talked about her struggle with homelessness as a child and how she overcame.
“I’m my biggest fan,” she said. “I push myself even when people tell me I'm doing a good job!”
There was a group project illustrating how its investment will benefit the community and people like 23-year-old Joshua Dorsey, whose experiences in foster care\ motivate him to study social work at the College of Southern Nevada.
"Very, very inspiring,” Dorsey said. “Made me feel great actually! And made me want to change my life around."
Omar Saucedo is AT&T’s director of Internal Affairs for Southern Nevada.
"We want to instill a belief and inspire people,” he said. “That whatever that word is maybe vision, power, strength, that they believe that they can transition away from being a homeless youth and be a successful adult.”
Nevada has the highest rate of unsheltered homeless youth in the country. That's according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. AT&T is donating an initial $281,000 to local non-profits.
$213,500 will go to HELP of Southern Nevada to open a new wing of the homeless youth center
$ 37,500 will go to Legal Aid of Southern Nevada for programs to assist homeless or at-risk youth in completing their education and getting jobs. It will also support programs that provide health assessments, legal support, training and social life skills.
$30,000 will go to the Las Vegas Courtyard Homeless Resource Center to support programs that help the homeless or at-risk access resources to gain employment, housing and the skills they need to re-enter society.
"And it just made sense for us to get involved. And have that social responsibility to change the lives of people that we serve in this community,” said Saucedo.
And it’s changing perspectives.
"When I was 18 I was like I'm not going to school,” said Dorsey. “I'm not doing this but now it’s like I'm 23 now and it’s like I have to do this!"