Who We Are
A Place Called Home first swung open its doors in 1993 – a year after the LA Unrest, amidst a crime epidemic that rendered the streets of South Central unsafe for children of any age. APCH’s mission was simple, but wrought with challenges: to provide the gang affected youth of South Los Angeles with a safe haven away from the life threatening dangers and temptations of the streets.
APCH became a refuge for our members, a safe place where teens could relax, do homework, and hang out with friends. It was a place to be accepted and to be a kid. What started with a dozen youngsters on the first day quickly grew to hundreds.
Over the past 25 years, a dynamic youth and community center has evolved from those humble beginnings. Today, APCH delivers a replete array of services to youth ages eight to mid-twenties and their families, empowering and inspiring them to self-reliance and ownership of their own lives. Every day we serve hundreds of young people and their families with educational and artistic programs, counseling, mentorship and pathways to a bright future. At our core, we are still a place where young people who face tremendous challenges can experience the joy, laughter and safety that should be a part of every childhood.
Our mission has four key objectives.
They are: (1) to increase the likelihood that members will remain in school, graduate, and go on to pursue higher learning and/or meaningful employment; (2) to increase each member’s capacity for positive, non-prejudicial and nonviolent interaction with peers, teachers, adults, family and community members; (3) to reduce members’ involvement or likelihood to be involved in criminal behavior or gang activity; and (4) to empower members and inspire them to take ownership of their lives and to make a positive difference in their communities and in the world. While these objectives are relatively broad, APCH’s comprehensive menu of programs has a unique capacity to realize the underlying goals and, because of that menu, we are able to attract a large number of youth on a daily, monthly, and yearly basis. Moreover, because APCH welcomes youth as young as eight years old, we have the advantage of time. Through the free, comprehensive mental health counseling services that we provide to individual members and their families, we can address challenges early on, thereby helping youth acquire the psycho-social tools they need to take full advantage of the programs offered to older members.
The Center’s name – A Place Called Home – speaks to the need every young person has to be safe, loved, and supported. At APCH, young people define their values, develop their gifts, strengthen their skills, and build resources and relationships to realize their goals and aspirations and go on to college or a good job. Along the way, young people at APCH learn that their voices are important and they can contribute to making the world a better, more just and equitable place for everyone.