Teen Project Fashion Show

This was the third year the Teen Project asked me to shoot their annual Teen Project Fashion Show. And what a great honor it is to be a part of such a great cause. If you're not familiar with them check out their website!


Here is their mission statement:

"To provide teens aging out of the foster care system with all of the resources and support of an intact family. To allow the greatest opportunity for a successful transition to adulthood."

The fashion show is held at The Westin South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Ca.


Founder Lauri Burns (who was once on the streets herself).


"The transition from adolescence to adulthood is a difficult transition, even with an intact family structure.  Recent studies have shown that the average young person must rely on parental support during this transitional period, and do not actually become self-sufficient until age 26.  By contrast, youth exiting the foster care systems do not have this option; they are cut off from their sole support system at age 18.

Where most teens are entering this time of their life with a sense of awe and opportunity, foster kids are left in a state of desperation.  Without a home to return to, they often sleep on couches, in cars or turn themselves in to the local homeless shelter.  For these kids the future is bleak."


The Teen Project's College Home:

"We provide young women (18-24 years old) homeless after foster care and at risk homeless youth with room and board, college support, paid job internships, savings program, automobile obtainment program and independent living education. All of The Teen Project's homes are beautiful. We believe where and how a kid lives reflects on how they feel about themselves. Each of our young women have their own room in a beautiful neighborhood and live-in house mom provides for a real family environment."


The Teen Project of Venice

PAD Drop in Center

"Serving youth that are homeless in Los Angeles. The Venice PAD (Protection and Direction) Drop in center is on Windward Avenue in the heart of Venice Beach, home to hundreds of homeless youth who come from all over the United States. The mission of The PAD is to move youth from the streets to safe housing, education and job obtainment quickly.

Where other organizations may provide resources (food, clothes, ID obtainment and more) to youth living on the streets, our organization is adamant that we need to move these kids off the streets and to safe housing immediately. The resources provided to the homeless population living on the streets, is the very thing that draws them there. The kids in Venice tell us they come there because you can live on the in the beautiful weather and obtain everything they need to survive there. 98% of the youth we serve are not from California and only 2 of the youth we served were from the Venice area. The streets are dangerous and we have a small window of opportunity before they become habitually homeless. The Teen Project is a parent to the parentless. These are "our" kids and we can help them now to get their life on track before it is too late."


"There is over 10 million dollars in donations going to resources for homeless people in the Venice area. While the resources are nice, they enable people to stay on the streets. If the resources were moved into the housing programs (The Teen Project, PATH, Share!) we would be helping the community and the homeless people. Our overriding goal is to educate the community to donate to the shelters, drawing the homeless population to the shelters, rather than the streets.

Each youth entering our center is assessed and goals set to return to family or locate a suitable housing alternative to meet their specific needs and get them back on track. We provide housing to 45-60 youth per year since arriving in Venice Beach in 2012."


The Teen Project's Freehab:

"The Teen Project's Freehab is the ONLY free drug treatment center that is dedicated to homeless youth in Los Angeles. It is also the only program that provides treatment and educational training on one unique site. As with all of our programs, the kids are provided with beautiful living arrangements.

Freehab provides young women exiting foster care, sex trafficked and homeless with everything our founder received 28 years ago (when she was homeless and prostituted) to turn her life around. Freehab is a fully licensed treatment center with vocational school onsite, providing California's most vulnerable youth with a one-stop shop for a life transformation. The program is one-year long with 90 days of intensive treatment, 90 days of vocational training and 6-months of vocational training and job obtainment. The end goal is transition to permanent housing with a life sustaining career. The core of the training is focused on technology (web development and design) although other career paths are offered in the fields of machining, medical billing, culinary arts and many additional trades."


The keynote speakers move you to tears with their personal stories of homelessness and abuse every time.


National Text Shelter Service

Youth can text SHELTER and their ZIP code (SHELTER 90210) to the phone number 99000 from anywhere in the nation and receive a response with a local shelter.