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Meet Dynasty Taylor of Dynasty’s United Youth Association in South Los Angeles

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dynasty Taylor.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I am locally known African American Social Worker (ACSW) born and raised in South Los Angeles in a notorious neighborhood called the “Jungles” which was mentioned in the crime backdrop film “Training Day”. I was born by two teenage parents and raised by my grandparents who were all affected by prevalent social issues including domestic violence, gang activity, substance abuse, gun violence, and the criminal justice system. I graduated from Dorsey Miller High School, Cal State Northridge with a Bachelors in Sociology, and the University of Southern California with a Masters in Social Work. At the age of 23, I became the CEO and Founder of a (501c3) community based non- profit organization called Dynasty’s United Youth Association that provides free educational and career programs to at-risk youth ages 5-18 for the past five years. I am currently employed at Davinci Rise High School, which is one of the ten schools in the nation to win a prestigious “Super School” grant funded by Steve Jobs wife, Laurene Powell Jobs. At Davinci, I am the Lead School Counselor, where I am responsible for the academic, social, mental health, and emotional needs of opportunity youth ages 14-22. Additionally, I am on the board of the Empowerment Congress South East Neighborhood Council as a Young Adult and Committee Chair and the Youth Board Representative for District 8 region. I direct 100% of my efforts and resources towards uplifting children and families in neglected neighborhoods where the academic and social needs of our youth are not being met and build a bridge of resources that are specifically tailored to the minority population.

I consider myself to be “resilient by nature” due to the unfortunate life circumstances that I witnessed and/or experienced in my childhood. The neighborhood my immediate family and I grew up in wasn’t really set up for people like us to prevail and be successful. The resources in low- income communities are scarce and limited, including the institutions who serve our population. It was the exposure of opportunities that I experienced through my education that allowed me to find hope in a hopeless place. I always wanted better out of life so I knew I had to work ten times harder than the next person to find my purpose and make a legit living for myself, which was the ultimate goal. I did this by working 2- 3 jobs, staying up late nights studying, sacrificing my social time, investing my money, networking with other colleagues, simplifying my lifestyle, staying spiritually connected, and involving myself around people with positive energy. I became my biggest fan, cheerleader, and motivator! I believed in Dynasty when nobody else did!

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
No, it has not been a smooth road at all! Trying to become successful can sometimes be very lonely. My father was incarcerated for 26 years of my life, my mom has been in and out of jail, along with my 17-year-old baby sister. Even though my family is in my life, I grew up with a lack of guidance, role models, and support system. I had to isolate myself from a lot of unhealthy habits and people to even focus the way I needed too. I had to financially cover my college expenses by taking out school loans and working multiple jobs. There was no study abroad or traveling for me in college due to one of my biggest personal expenses, “rent”. When I first started my non- profit organization majority of the funding was coming from my personal account to jump-start my business. I have to direct all of my time and money into following my dreams, even after failing consistently. I went from being a little girl in the hood to becoming a young educated businesswoman with goals and ambitions. Getting back up after failing miserably is one of the hardest parts of life because it creates fear of the unknown. Once I learned how to kiss my scars and get back up, that’s when I became successful at being me. Now I am no longer fearful of failing, I am more fearful of not getting back up after failing.

Dynasty’s United Youth Association – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from others?
Dynasty’s United Youth Association is 501- c3 community based non- profit organization that operates in South Los Angeles providing free educational, career, and mental health programs to at-risk youth ages 5-18. The mission of the organization is to establish a social learning environment where we assist vulnerable communities for youth coming from broken homes and living in poverty. We have a partnership with two of the biggest public service centers, the Los Angeles Public library and LA County parks of recreation, where we host our programs and services. Over the past five years, DUYA has proudly served over 500 students, recruited over 50 volunteers, and has established relationships and partnerships in the community. DUYA provides local Los Angeles residents access to educational and career programs, job training skills and internships to local high school and graduate students, expanded mental health support to address the student’s emotional and social needs and sent at least 80% of their high school students to college through college advisement programs.

What makes this organization successful and sets us apart from others is our “delivery of service”. We meet students where they are, in their neighborhoods, by partnering with other local like-minded organizations to strengthen the services and resources in our community. The services are free, accessible, and flexible for children and families independent learning style. The staff members who serve our students are recruited and hired from the communities in which we serve, which provides relatability and inspiration for the future generations to come. Majority of youth organizations that operate during after school hours mainly provide recreation and supervision, we teach and build character.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
The proudest moment of my career is finding myself and my purpose. Learning more about myself and identifying my purpose helped to ground my sense of meaning in life. I was able to use the power of my influence and my story to impact the greater good of our communities. Seeing my students become confident and striving for excellence makes me very proud, but the gift of giving is even more powerful to endure.

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