Friday, October 06, 2006


By: Ani Amirkhanian

LOS ANGELES Burbank-based We Care for Youth, a nonprofit organization serving area teens, received the John Anson Ford Human Relations Award on Thursday at a luncheon held at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel.

The Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations presented the award to the co-founders of the 15-year-old youth outreach organization.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich gave the award to We Care for Youth co-founders Linda Maxwell and Jose Quintanar.

"For me, it's so humbling to be selected for this award," said Maxwell, as she held back tears. "We just followed our bliss and our bliss was kids."

We Care for Youth was founded in 1991 by Maxwell and Quintanar, a former professor at Glendale Community College.

Maxwell and Quintanar began mentoring about 20 at-risk teenage girls, all of whom graduated from high school.

"This award gives us awareness that we have still been around for 15 years," Quintanar said.

The organization has grown to serve teens in the Glendale, Burbank and Pasadena areas, Quintanar said.

"When we talk about human relations, we are talking about survival of the planet," Maxwell said.

We Care for Youth staff provide outreach services to teens dealing with issues related to peer pressure, substance abuse and domestic violence.

"I have watched [Maxwell and Quintanar] work and they are dedicated to community and human relations," said Burbank City Councilwoman Marsha Ramos. "They are so deserving of this award. I'm very happy to see they are recognized."

Ramos worked with We Care for Youth founders to help develop mediation, dialogue and strategy with teens, she said.

We Care for Youth was recently awarded with a $50,000 federal grant. The grant provides project-based learning programs that focus on building leadership skills, reducing teen violence and fostering peer and community bonding at Burbank High School.

"Their name alone, under the guidance and leadership of Linda and Jose, they are sincere and genuine," Ramos said. "They do life-changing work."

To date, We Care for Youth has served nearly 9,000 local teens, Maxwell said.

"We are just one more response," Maxwell said. "If you've got a kid who needs someone to talk to, send them to us."