For Latino youth and other historically underserved youth…
Identity is a resource.
Identity is a community.
Identity is a safe place.
In pursuit of a just equitable and inclusive society, Identity’s mission is to create opportunities for Latino and other historically underserved youth to realize their highest potential and thrive.
Identity is honored to have supported the successful growth and development of tens of thousands of young people living in high poverty areas of Montgomery County since 1998. Identity youth report real improvements in their ability to resolve conflict; speak up for themselves; connect to school, the workforce and the community; and avoid substance abuse and delinquent behavior. Identity youth show improved school attendance and achievement, and their families report improved communication and more involvement in their children’s lives after participating in our programs. Lifesaving safety-net support and caring human connections stave off hunger, homelessness and despair in families during times of extreme crisis.
We envision a just and equitable society that nurtures all youth and is enriched by their contributions.
Watch our video to learn more about what we do from some of the youth we are privileged to serve.
Why are we called Identity?
The name Identity is a reminder that all people want to be recognized.
As we go through life, our first choice is to be recognized positively. If that fails, our second choice is to be recognized negatively. This choice may not be ideal, but at least we are acknowledged. What no one wants is to not to be recognized at all. Why? Because if we are not noticed, we do not exist. We do not have an identity. Here at Identity, we start by truly seeing each young person we are privileged to serve.
We connect with many youth through our Wellness Centers and Youth Opportunity Centers.
We operate four of the county’s high school Wellness Centers (at Wheaton High School, Watkins Mill High School, Gaithersburg High School, and Seneca Valley High School) which provide a broad array of programs and services focused on supporting the physical, social, emotional, and mental well-being of the students throughout their high-school years.
Identity also operates two Youth Opportunity Centers, in Gaithersburg and Takoma Park, which reach out to young people facing especially challenging situations.
Many have dropped out of school and do not have jobs. Lack of English-language skills may impede their job seeking success. Some have been involved with gangs. Some struggle with substance abuse or mental health issues. Many have experienced trauma.
The Youth Opportunity Centers represent a positive and stabilizing influence in their lives and a source of referrals to needed services.