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From homelessness to hope, a Marin youth story
Marin IJ, June 5, 2023
by Julian Kane Stein
After losing my mother when I was 12 years old, I moved out of my father’s house before age 18 and spent years couch surfing—bouncing around from friends to friends, and one girlfriend’s house to another. I slept in my car many cold nights when I was left with no other options. I struggled to keep up with bare necessities such as laundry and basic hygiene. However, I was far from your stereotypical homeless young man.
My luck started to change once I was introduced to Zara and the Marin nonprofit Ambassadors of Hope and Opportunity (AHO) ahoproject.org. Zara, AHO’s founder was my life coach. I would not be where I am at today if it were not for the generosity, and inordinate efforts Zara has put in to see me overcome my hardships and become successful in life against all odds. AHO does much more than assist with resources.
Life Savers: Two Marin Non-Profits Help At-Risk Youth Succeed
Pacific Sun, Dec 20, 2022
by Nikki Silverstein
Zara Babitzke and Jeannine Curley came from different backgrounds, but both faced serious challenges while growing up. It’s not surprising that the two remarkable women chose careers where they could help others—specifically at-risk youth.
In 2003, Babitzke, who experienced homelessness in her youth, founded the Ambassadors of Hope and Opportunity (AHO) to help homeless teens and young adults, aged 16 to 25. AHO services include providing housing, jobs, free dental care, free eye exams and glasses, legal aid and trauma counseling.
Photo: A group from Ambassadors of Hope and Opportunity Project holds an auction item donated by Sammy Hagar. Left to right: Brett, Zoe, Benny, Jay, Larkin, Jimmy and Nick. Photo courtesy of Ambassadors of Hope and Opportunity.
Ambassadors of Hope and Opportunity (AHO) is Marin’s only nonprofit serving homeless teens and young adults ages 16 to 25 who represent 1/3 of Marin’s homeless population.
AHO YOUTH Dream Team
PHOTO (Left to Right)
Kevin, Nick, Zara, James, Ron
❤️ Heart of Marin Nominations
at the AHO Cottage
AHO Thanks 100Marin for the 2020 Award in Public Health
In case you missed the 100Marin Awards zoom event……..
🎈Please take 3 minutes to view our Winning 100Marin Award Presentation
Dr. David Wain Coon, President of College of Marin introduces & nominated us for this Award.
🌟 ANNOUNCING 🌟
AHO Gifts the Murals to COLLEGE OF MARIN
Following the close of the AHO mural Exihibition/Retrospective, and 8 years oftraveling throughout the Bay Area, AHO will gift the “Youth Homelessness to Hope”murals and framed color posters to College of Marin as their permanent home. Thus, leaving the legacy of AHO’s previously homeless youth who created this extraordinary project.
Pictured above: AHO Band “THE HAPPYS” & Zara with Mural Poster
AHO Breaking News
The AHO Project APP is here & going viral!
- Need housing, jobs, dental? Youth can quickly text 415-203-0369 for support and share with friends
- Community Service hours for FUN Youth Projects
- Become a Community partner and share your expertise
Ambassadors of Hope and Opportunity (AHO) is a 501 (c) (3) organization designed for youth, by youth, for the future of youth who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness. Since its inception in January 2005, AHO has been leading the way in addressing the growing trend of youth homelessness in Marin County, Greater Bay Area and Sacramento, CA.
Eliminating youth homelessness in suburban and rural communities nationwide using AHO as a model.
To provide young adults ages 18 to 25 who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness a trained life coach, the essential resources and leadership opportunities to become financially self-sufficient contributing adults
GRO AHO Initiative
AHO on the Move sharing its successful program model with other counties and communities around the State.
Building Youth Leaders
Historic Town Hall Forum
THINK DIFFERENT: A Preventative Approach for Homeless Youth
Produced by AHO Youth Team of previously homeless youth
Hosted by Senator Mike McGuire
Marin jail $78,000 /yr Source: Captain Navarro MC Jail 2017
San Quentin $75,560 /yr Source: LA Times June 4, 2017
AHO safety net $1,000 /yr
AHO Youth Describe Emotional & Physical
Challenges of Being Homeless
AHO “Rock for Homeless Youth”
AHO Youth Connect PSA
In The Press
“Marin Voice: Building bridges between police and young adults” by Cindy Aguilera, Marin IJ
In The Press
“Marin Voice: Homeless youth spearhead free dental clinic for peers” by Larkin Bond, Marin IJ
In The Press
“A preventive solution to youth homelessness” by Christina Herrera, Marin IJ