One.N.Ten is a renowned youth organization with a main location in Phoenix, AZ and 6 satellite locations in the suburbs of the valley. They cater to youth that are anywhere from 14 to 24 years old. We talked to Sam Castro, a program coordinator at this organization, to learn more about this all-encompassing center.
How would you describe One.N.Ten in a few words?
“I would say that One.N.Ten is a place that provides youth with everything possible they may need.”
Can you tell us a little bit more about the services offered?
“We have 4 pillars of service. They cover youth housing, youth empowerment, health & wellness, and education & employment. About 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBT, and although Phoenix has laws protecting the LGBTQ+ community, Arizona doesn’t. We want to be able to give these people a safe place to live. The youth call our programs a lesson on ‘how to adult’ because we teach them everything from budgeting to cooking.”
What else do you do within the community?
“We love to make our presence known. We have outreach events all the time, and of course we’re at the Pride events near us. We also go to various other events within the community such as the Martin Luther King Jr. Parade or the Women’s March. It’s important that we’re able to reach out to all different types of people.”
Tell us more about how you got involved with such a powerful organization.
“I’m originally from San Francisco, which as you may know is essentially the gay hub of the United States. I was extremely fortunate because when I came out as bisexual, I never actually had to come out. It was something that was openly accepted by my friends and teachers. However, I’m from a very conservative Latino family, and coming out to my parents was a challenge. This motivated me to help young people facing similar issues as a got older. I went to Arizona State University for college and majored in Family and Human Development and minored in Sociology and Women’s and Gender Studies, and with all this new background I had, I saw that this career path would be a great fit for me.
So you said One.N.Ten provides ‘everything possible [the youth] may need’. What does this mean?
“We’re lucky enough to be able to have a very flexible schedule, so we ask the youth what they feel is important to learn about and we provide it. We have everything from self-defense classes to talks on suicide prevention or healthy relationship to art or yoga nights to classes about how to cook on a budget. We have major corporations like Bank of America come in and teach the kids how to budget. 40% of our youth are also straight allies, which means they support the LGBT community, so this is another great way for our kids to feel safe and accepted.”
We’re amazed at the influence this organization has had and continues to have. We’re so excited to see what they do next, and cannot wait to work on campaigns to help them spread their message!
Oh, and don’t forget to check One.N.Ten out in National Geographic Documentary, Gender Revolution.