No Kid Hungry Louisiana Senior Program Manager, Ariyon C. Bryant, recently spoke with Jasmine Romero, Founder and Executive Director of Youth Unlimited, a nonprofit organization established in 2018 to help position at-risk youth to “win” in their health and overall wellbeing. Scroll down to learn more.
Youth Unlimited was founded by Jasmine Romero, a young entrepreneur from New Orleans, Louisiana, who has always had a zeal for empowering youth and families. Born and raised in the Carrollton area, Jasmine started her career as an Early Childhood Educator at Alice Harte Elementary, and has since shifted her focus to the nonprofit sector but has remained true to her passion of serving under-resourced communities of color. Youth Unlimited, which serves ages 0-17, helps youth to develop character, increase economic power, and improve physical health and wellness through enrichment activities and educational workshops. “Kids are facing hunger, mental illness, peer pressure and overall just being a kid,” said Jasmine. Thankfully, organizations like Youth Unlimited and others are here to help provide support for kids in Louisiana.
Youth Unlimited’s programs include classes in health, physical activity, gymnastics, dance, yoga, nutrition education, afterschool enrichment, parent workshops, and youth economic entrepreneurship. These services are offered either on a weekly or monthly basis with special Marketplace Community Events weaved throughout. Examples of Marketplace Events include a series of community engagement activities that were recently sponsored by the organization and held at Marsalis Harmony Park (formerly Palmer Park), Carrollton-Riverbend. Credited as the “Kids Festival”, the organization’s mission was to shine a light on childhood hunger while simultaneously providing engagement activities, empowerment, and most importantly, resources!
Over the course of the four Marketplace events, Youth Unlimited provided more than 200 free hot lunches to kids and families, and provided an opportunity for youth entrepreneurs to sell their local handmade items. Opportunities were also provided for children to perform and showcase their many talents. The events were hailed as a major success in part due to Jasmine and Youth Unlimited’s presence in the community, and a sponsorship by Lamar Advertising, who provided billboards across the city to help promote the organization’s goals of reducing youth food insecurity in New Orleans.
“It is very hard to be an entrepreneur, and it is always a struggle to venture off on your own….late nights, early mornings,” Jasmine explains. “People often ask why do I do it?” But Jasmine shares that, “if our programs didn’t exist, the community would feel it. We do a number of outreach and community events to help build up our youth in every aspect, including healthy living. Families express their gratitude by volunteering for our amazing programs. Once the families and children feel the love we all become one big family. Relationship building is a big plus with our organization. We push for greatness and helping each other.”
Jasmine is also grateful for the partnership and assistance of No Kid Hungry LA. She states that through this partnership “we were able to feed so many youth in the Uptown area and we still have a few more events to go”. She also wished to give her thanks to Success at Thurgood Marshall, Unique Stars, and Dazzling Diamonds for their participation in the events.
Jasmine concluded by noting what she believes to be the most rewarding aspect of her job – “to see the youth grow and “win” in all ways possible!”