The inspiration for starting the City Center can be traced back to an eleven-year-old boy named Larry who quickly became homeless after his mother was diagnosed with cancer and his father lost their home due to a drug addiction. For eleven years, Larry experienced life in the foster care system, youth authority and prison. Larry was following in the footsteps of his older brother who, to this day, is serving time at Pelican Bay State Prison, the only supermax state prison in California. Larry’s pain was so indescribable that he started lifting weights for one reason; not to look or feel good, but to ensure his back arm was large enough so anyone he hit would feel his pain.
When he was twenty-two years old, Larry was invited to a facility similar to the City Center and his life was altered over time due to the support and mentorship he received. This alternative way of living encouraged Larry to go back to school, receive his GED, graduate college on the Dean’s List and with two degrees.
In 2017, Larry and his family founded the City Center with one vision in mind; to keep our youth population off the streets today, tomorrow, and in the future. He obtained a 30,000 square foot building that sat dormant in Stockton, California for almost thirteen years. He established a small, collaborative team who decided through five core values, accountability, and support, we could raise the standard for youth living in the San Joaquin County.
Since then, the City Center has welcomed over 4,000 community members and provided over 2,000 youth a positive, productive, and safe environment to thrive. But to accomplish our vision of keeping all youth off the street, there is still a long way to go. The San Joaquin County is home to over 145,000 students and with the rapid increase in youth memberships, it has never been more evident that underserved communities need facilities like the City Center.