For the past year, Raysa Reyes has been helping homeless LGBT teens rebuild their lives.

“They’re young. Sometimes it’s challenge to convince them to see past this moment in their lives,” said Raysa, an outreach specialist with the Robin Hood-funded Ali Forney Center, the nation’s largest service provider dedicated to LGBT homeless youth. “You have to meet them where they are and I feel AFC does a good job of that.”

Prior to joining the outreach team, she was a youth counselor at one of AFC’s emergency housing sites. Now her days are spent travelling across New York City, delivering food, water, safe sex kits, and information to homeless LGBT teens.

“We don’t profile because it’s hard to say who is homeless and who isn’t. Instead, we just go out to where homeless teens and LGBT teens tend to gather,” she explained. “We talk to everyone. I’ve talked to teachers or professors, who take our kits or flyers because they have students who are homeless.”

Raysa plans on getting her Master’s in Social Work from Hunter College and continuing to help youth.

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