The Epicenter exists to empower at risk and system involved youth ages 16-24 to flourish by connecting them to community resources that provide opportunities for equity and hope in order to improve youth outcomes in Monterey County.
The Epicenter exists to empower at-risk youth ages 16-24 to flourish by connecting them to community resources that provide opportunities for equity and hope. Young people come together for things like movie nights and craft night in a judgment-free space, and learn from others who identify as LGBTQ+ or are in the foster system or have other shared experiences. The Epicenter’s Big Idea, Empowering Peers in our Community (EPIC), provides safe spaces and opportunities for youth in Monterey County to develop life skills, leadership skills and a support network. EPIC uses a peer-to-peer model, which allows the possibility for youth to learn together, grow together and give back to their community. The Epicenter hosts monthly programming in which youth are chosen as the leaders, facilitators and community voices to create systemic change on a local and statewide level.
The Epicenter will always be my second home. I connected to The Epicenter three years ago and instantly became attached to the culture, warmth and love that I continuously saw at the center. In December of 2018, I joined Youth Council, which is an employment opportunity for current foster youth, and within two weeks I became a staff [member] here at the center. I never stayed at a job for more than a year, nor have I connected with my coworkers up until now. To me, this place is more than just a job. I’m not afraid to make mistakes because we are allowed to learn and grow here. As a youth advocate and foster youth liaison, I see that everyone here values each other and works together to build community and empower youth.
- Melissa Duarte-Love