Carpenter Helps Build Bridge for Youth

The Los Angeles Youth Opportunity Movement Watts (LAYOM Watts) works to connect Los Angeles youth and employers. The organization serves as a launch pad for young people seeking education and careers. Last Saturday, the organization broke ground on the YouthSource Center’s new addition “The Wardrobe,”  a clothes closet where underserved youth will be able to obtain professional clothing for job interviews and work. Our Local 213 carpenters were there to volunteer their time and skills. They demolished walls and turned an old musty 5×7  boys locker room into a boutique with hardware and fixtures.

Many of LAYOM’s participants are considered at-risk youth. The majority of the population they serve consists of Foster, homeless and/or low income adolescents. When LAYOM realized the gap between their needs and services, they called on the Southwest Carpenters to help build a bridge. Having the opportunity to give back to the LAYOM was particularly special for Local 213’s Carpenter Apprentice, Nataly Portillo. Portillo formerly worked at LAYOM’s Hollywood worksource center. It was there she found a flyer from the National Association of Women in Construction and made a decision that changed her life. Last July, Portillo started her career with the Southwest Carpenters doing large bridge construction in Orange County. When she heard about the opportunity to build a different kind of bridge, she was happy to participate. “It reminds me of where I started,” she said. “I was looking for an opportunity too.”

Local 213 Carpenter Apprentice pictured with Focused Youth organizers Theresa (far left) and Toni Cordero (far right) as well as  Daize Ayon (right center) a Youth Intern who will manage “The Wardrobe” when it opens.