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Jaylynn, 17

Jaylynn is a native of Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn, NY. Since his early childhood, he has lived with a number of foster families, a very unstable situation that the young man describes as “horrendous.”

Jaylynn enjoys coming to New Alternatives on Sunday nights. “Here, I can be myself,” he says. “I learn to advocate for myself as a gay man.”

Jaylynn particularly enjoys New Alternatives’ Life Skills Workshops that encourage him to stay driven and never lose hope, thanks to the support of the volunteers and his peers. “They push me,” he says.

From the cramped bedroom he shares with three other teenagers in an East New York foster home, Jaylynn wishes for the simple things: a space of his own, a high school diploma, and the chance to go to college. His ultimate goal is to become a politician. He also longs to be reunited with his younger sister, Ebony, whom he rarely sees and misses very much.

Despite the difficulties Jaylynn has faced, he is optimistic and always shares his good spirits with his peers at New Alternatives, a safe place where he has found a new family.

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Mission Statement

Created in 2008, the mission of New Alternatives is to increase the self-sufficiency of homeless LGBT youth and to enable them to transition out of the shelter system and into stable adult lives. We do this by providing case management, education services, life skills training, community-building recreational activities, opportunities for self-expression, and support services for HIV+ youth. Our guiding principles are those of harm reduction, youth development, and empowerment.