Larkin Street provides youth between the ages of 12 and 24 with the help they need to rebuild their lives. Each year, more than 3,000 youth walk through our doors seeking help. We give them a place where they can feel safe; rebuild their sense of self-respect, trust, and hope; learn school, life and job skills; and find the confidence to build a future.
Larkin Street was founded in 1984 by a group of local business owners, church members, and neighbors who were concerned by the rising number of young people engaging in risky behaviors on the streets of San Francisco. With comprehensive youth service programs located throughout San Francisco, Larkin Street Youth Services is now an internationally recognized model successfully integrating housing, education, employment and health services to get homeless and at-risk kids off the streets.
Our 207 employees carry out Larkin Street’s “client-first” philosophy. Larkin Street Youth Services’ mission is to take care of youth and help them to get permanently of the street, but we’re also committed to taking care of our employees. We are proud of the depth and range of our diversity in our backgrounds and skill-sets. Our organizational culture encourages achievement, and we emphasize and support the importance of ongoing professional development.
Our employees give everyday to our youth, because of this we want to give our employees the best possible working experience at Larkin Street. Positions are full-time, part-time and relief and include a full range of benefits—medical, dental, vision, long-term disability, life insurance, and employee assistance plan for all employees. There are eleven yearly paid agency holidays, two floating, personal days. Employees currently accrue three weeks of vacation in their first year with the agency.
The people who work at Larkin Street enjoy these benefits of employment with the premier social service provider for homeless and runaway youth in San Francisco. If you asked them, they might certainly point to our excellent working environment and provision of benefits as important reasons for their employment with us. But ultimately, they are driven by the desire to take part in the most important aspect of Larkin Street’s work: our mission of inspiring youth to move beyond the streets.
In the early 1980s, residents, businesspeople, and social service providers in San Francisco’s Polk Gulch began to notice that there were many youth living on the streets in their neighborhood. For various reasons, these young people had nowhere to live. They also had no way to survive without resorting to theft, prostitution, or the drug trade. So in 1984, members of the community decided to take action: they opened a Drop-In Center on Larkin Street to help homeless youth find a supportive and safe place, off the streets of San Francisco.
Over time, as the issues affecting homeless youth changed, Larkin Street evolved to address them. In 1988, Larkin Street added a peer-based substance abuse treatment program that allowed youth the opportunity to help other youth recover from drug use. Five years later, the organization opened the 16-bed Diamond Youth Shelter to provide safe temporary housing for young people who were resorting to sleeping on the streets. Shortly afterward, Larkin Street expanded our outreach services with our Haight Street Referral Center, and opened our Avenues to Independence transitional living program. In 1997, Larkin Street opened the nation’s first comprehensive housing program for HIV+ youth, named Assisted Care. More organizational growth followed in concert with our Strategic Plan, which guided our addition of other housing programs and employment services.
Today, what was once the original Larkin Street Drop-In Center has grown into the robust continuum of programs and services delivered across San Francisco to over 3,000 young people annually. We give youth more than just temporary respite from life on the streets. We give them the tools they need—through housing, medical care, education, and job training—to permanently reclaim their lives.
Larkin Street Youth Services continues to set the standard for the delivery of successful programs for homeless and at risk youth not only in San Francisco, but also nationwide. Larkin Street has received numerous awards over the years, with organizations from around the world looking to us as a model of innovation and effective provision of programs that change the lives of thousands of homeless and runaway youth every year.
I have been working at Larkin Street Youth Services full-time (Less than a year)
I work at Larkin Street because of the mission and the crises of young people living on the street. The people are wonderful and the program is groundbreaking. It's a great time to be at the agency.
When working at a social services agency, it's not always 9-5. It's not a con if you love what you do!
I applied online. The process took 2 weeks. I interviewed at Larkin Street Youth Services.
Shade. Major shade. I went in for an interview and I felt like my personal and professional experience was completely ignored. I have more than enough experience, with multiple years in social services and in non-profit administration. The interviewers were, at best, distant and took none of my personal and professional experiences to heart or to mind. I really admire their mission but they seem like a total non-profit racket. Don't waste your time.
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