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Ettie Lee Youth and Family Services

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Crime & Law, Foster Care, Human Services, Mental Health, Residential Care & Adult Day Programs, Residential Mental Health Treatment, Youth Violence Prevention

Mission: Ettie Lee Youth & Family Services was founded 55 years ago by Miss Ettie Lee, a Los Angeles high-school teacher who opened the first group home using a married couple in America using a married couple. A pioneer in the field of child welfare, we have helped thousands of youngsters rebuild their lives, and heal the pain of abuse, abandonment and neglect. Our mission is to assist troubled youth who are in need of guidance and support to develop values and skills that will facilitate their success in life. We work with youth and their families throughout the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino.

Geographic areas served: The Greater Los Angeles area

Programs: Ettie Lee Youth & Family Services' programs include nine residential care homes for boys, ages 8-18; a foster family agency for boys & girls, infancy-18; an adolescent substance abuse treatment program and a broad range of community-based prevention services for at-risk teens & their families.

Community Stories

8 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I first learned about Ettie Lee Youth & Family Services in 1968. Miss Ettie Lee was being honored for her work with youth at Brigham Young University. She talked about her two great loves in life: 1) being a full-time public school teacher and 2) working with her boys and the group home agency she started in 1950 in Southern California. As she talked it was very clear that her mission in life was to help troubled children that were not receiving the help they needed to turn their lives around. I have known about this agency for 48 years years. I have seen that the Board of Directors was truly dedicated to the mission of Miss Ettie Lee.
This agency today, without a doubt, puts children and those they serve first. The agency operates on a very thin margin and has no fancy programs but truly has its total focus on the youth they serve. Ettie Lee has an amazing length of stay for the staff who serve the youth, with most staff staying with the agency for years because they believe in the mission of Miss Ettie Lee. She created a family like living situation for her homes and the youth living in those homes. The Ettie Lee staff have total support for the family like homes. All staff are putting the youth first and this in shown by the success that the youth are having while living in one of the group homes. The agency gets many former residents who return or contact the agency to express their belief that Ettie Lee made a huge difference in their lives.
As the agency has seen a need to better serve the youth and their families the agency has created many new programs and services to better meet those needs. Programs such as foster homes, adoptions services, substance abuse services, mental health contracts, working with a charter school so the youth have abetter school experience. These programs have truly strengthened the agency and its ability to meet the needs of the youth and their families.
I believe that Ettie lee Youth & Family Services is truly a unique agency that is like none other that I am aware of. If I had a need for one of my family members for extra help I would not be unwilling to have that child be placed with this agency. Ettie Lee is a wonderful, caring and dedicated agency where the youth truly come first.

Clayton Downey
Salem, Utah
(801) 424-0110

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I came from a broken home when I was 13 years old. After spending my life with numerous stepfathers who were physically and emotionally brutal to us, I was placed in the Ettie Lee home in Fontana in 1969. My experience with living beside my new brothers (15 of us lived there) who were from different races, religions, and socio-economic background assisted me to become the man who I am today. Learning to live and get along with others, and how to live in a family environment were lessons that had lifelong effects. I am now 60 years old with two children and six grandchildren. I work in administration at a community college and have been in higher education for the past 23 years. Thank you Ettie Lee for showing me love when I didn't even know what love was.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Ettie Lee Youth and Family Services' "family-model" established by Miss Ettie Lee decades ago was not only innovative but has withstood the test of time; and continues to prove pivotal in the lives of the youth it serves. I was a long term resident of Ettie Lee's Fontana Group home from the ages of 12-18. Ettie Lee's "family-model" incorporated the family of the group home parents with the youth it served. This provided not only a foundation for growth during my critical years of development, but also provided stability and love to me and the nine other residents of varying backgrounds and socio/psycho needs. Although I was in a group home, my experiences parallel and mimic the experiences you expect in a normal family situation. I have the fondest memories of my group home parents, their long-time live in counselor, and the organization. I give absolute credit to the organization for providing a foundation, inspiring and guiding me in my youth. I have earned my bachelor's and graduate degree in large part because of their encouragement and the path they set me on in my youth. I will always be grateful to Ettie Lee Youth & Family Services

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am one of the graduates from 70's and would like to thank everyone involved. This place does wonderful work. Love and kisses from my heart.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was in the home and a confused young man who had lived in 15 different homes in 3 states before arriving at the Ettie Lees in N.Hollywood.
Tell you the truth, I did not take advantage of all the great things they offered, for I was at a point that I wanted to party and sneak out etc.
I had to find out myself the hard way when I awoled the Ettie Lees program and had years of being homeless etc..I now have my own business and I'm a young grandfather of 2 and been married for almost 25 years.
Yes Malcom and Grace old Billy Jack Tony the wild one!

Now with that said ,they gave me all the tools to take advantage of and emancipate myself and have a head start in life and be successful. I tried but didn't like to follow the rules.
They went out of there way to help me on my job quest and to find out what I wanted to do in life , and what it was going to take to do it.
They really help kids get prepared for college and the grants etc and are very heads on.
You lived with kids who come from all walks of life and all kinds of troubles and learned that your not the only ones with troubles and that there are ones with way more things in life faced and you learn that there is no giving up and you need to try to do good and take advantage of what they are offering.

We learned how to cook for all members of the home ,how to shop for the meals we made etc.We would each cook a meal daily for the home.
I will tell you we ate good at Ettie Lees and did lots of fun group functions.
I would not recommend to do what I did and take full advantage and LISTEN to what Ettie Lee counselors are trying to tell you and grasp it and do your best to follow the rules and achieve your goals.
They are a ladder ,you just need to take the proper steps to reach the top.
I wish I would have done it myself as it was a really great home and I had the perfect opportunity to succeed.
I would seriously recommend Ettie Lees for anyone needing help and guidance to become independent with a head start into adulthood.




2 Spencer M.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Ettie Lee youth and Family Services is so amazing! Without a doubt one of the most defining times in my life. When I was there I was a very confused boy. I really learned so much there. Above all self confidence. They taught me that anything I wanted to do, with hard work, was very possible. I owe so much to them. They helped me get my high school diploma at a time where I thought it was way too late. There amazing staff guided me in a very troubling time and I cannot say thank you enough! I love all you guys at Ettie Lee! From the bottom of my heart I say thank you!!
Love always,
Spencer Marks

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first heard about Ettie Lee, the woman, as a youth growing up in Idaho and was inspired by her story. It wasn't until years later and living in California that I became aware that there was a home right here in my area. For the past 8 years, I've been involved as a volunteer helping celebrate birthdays, Christmas, and other holidays with these young men. It has always been a treat for all of us in "Women of Faith, Redlands" to spend time with these young men making Mother's Day gifts or gingerbread houses, dipping pretzels in chocolate, decorating the Christmas tree, or watching them blow out their birthday candles.

I have been impressed with what I see and feel each time I'm in company with these young men. It's easy to sense the respect they and the staff have for each other. I'm glad there is a program that recognizes the potential of these young men and works to help them achieve it.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a former resident of Ettie Lee and lived in the Robertson home and diamond L.
When I was young, everyone thought I was stupid. Teachers, family and etc. I needed glasses. I got glasses at age 14 and at age 15 I took GED and ranked top 4 percentile in sciences . Then I was sent to Ettie Lee. I was still stupid in he head and did not understand . Ettie Lee staff showed me I was smart and believed in me. I started going to college at age 16 from a fostor home. Years later, I joined the navy. I am a 3rd class petty officer and I fixed aviation life support systems, environmental control system, and ejection. I worked at Miramar California. I am in the process of buying a house now.
I owe my life to Ettie Lee . They made me believe I was smart.