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Safety Starts Park to Park

July 17, 2017

LFDOn July 16th, Lawrence Family Development and the Mayor's Office launched the next phase of the CIty's Community Safety plan. The inaugural "pop up party" was held at Dr. Nina Scarpito park on Brook Street. About eighty people dropped by the park between 1 and 4 on Sunday for a cookout and park games. Lawrence Family Development’s food service staff grilled hotdogs and hamburgers while members of the SISU Youth Team ran the park games. Lawrence Family Development set up mini-golf, ring toss, bean bag toss, and big block Jenga stations for the kids; while running a 3 on 3 basketball tournament for the local teenagers. Members of the Lawrence Fire DJ ChrisDepartment brought a ladder truck to the park for the kids to climb on, and took some time to shoot hoops with tournament players in between games. DJ Chris spun Latin and urban music throughout the day, while attendees beat the heat with water balloons. 

Sunday’s party was the first of six, supported through emergency funding proposed by the Mayor and passed by the City Council in April. In addition to the parties, the funding supports adding three additional street outreach workers to the SISU street outreach team; diana Facepainttwo of those street outreach workers were on hand Sunday to help with the party. “I grew up in this City and hung out in these parks as a kid. I got in trouble in these same parks as a young man. Because of this I am grateful to be working with the SISU team and the City to keep other young people from making some of the same mistakes I made.” said one of the new outreach workers, Angel Vasquez. 

During the week prior to the party, members of the Lawrence Family Development SISU landscaping team spent several days cleaning up the park, picking up trash, and mowing the lawns. 

Additional pictures.
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Playhouse Palooza

April 26, 2016

PlayhouseFor the past several months, YouthBuild Lawrence Cohort 21 students have been building houses in Lawrence. After completing work on 165 West Street, the program moved on to another project... as part of “Playhouse Palooza”.

CASA Palozoo PlayhouseBetween April 15-24, the Essex County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) hosted their second annual “Playhouse Palooza” at the Northshore Mall in Peabody. Raffle tickets, one for $5 and five for $20, were sold to win four one-of-a-kind playhouses constructed and donated by Youth Build Lawrence, as well as North Shore CDC Youth Build, The Knights of Columbus Masconomo Council, and Brossi Realty of Northbridge. The playhouses were on display in the Macy’s court, and the drawing was held on April 24.

After completing the donated Playhouse, the YouthBuild Lawrence Construction team has continued working with the students to build several additional playhouses. This project provides excellent training for YouthBuild Lawrence's next big project at 213 Jackson Street in Lawrence. Good breaking on the Jackson Street project is tentatively scheduled to occur in early May of 2016.

YBKids Playhouse

For more information on the Playhouse project, contact YouthBuild Lawrence.
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A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

April 11, 2016

bridgeFor the past several weeks, Lawrence Youth Team members have had a very unique opportunity. Through a partnership with the Essex Art Center, they have been learning to tell their stories using photography as a medium. In addition to learning the proper techniques to taking the perfect picture, they are also learning to properly use a digital camera and digital photo editing software.

Too often urban communities, like Lawrence, and the young people who inhabit them are defined by the media, pop culture, and the selfie/Instagram fad. What is rarely shown or understood is how the streets, buildings and residents are seen through the eyes of young people. Inspired by the Kids with Cameras Project, our hope is that the young men involved with the Lawrence Youth Team and the Safe and Successful Youth Initiative will create a dialogue and provide a view of their world through their eyes.Tammy Cancel, an LYT Case Manager, summarized the program thus far; "the guys were able to sit still and look at their city through camera lens and tell each other stories that impacted their lives and what Lawrence means to them." 

Joseph photogThe program is being taught by Dan Williams, an Ohio University Professor Emeritus. Mr. Williams is a native of Brooklyn, NY and a graduate of Brooklyn College and the University of Oregon’s Photography Graduate program.  Mr. Williams is no stranger to urban art projects. His own work often focuses on social situations of mostly African-Americans.He has been exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian, Princeton Museum of Art and the University of Kansas Spencer Museum of Art.

                                                                                                                                                                                 Mr. Williams teachers Joseph Rodriguez some techniques
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Lawrence Family Development Charter School Students, families, staff, board, and friends Support service mission in Dominican Republic for 17th year

February 25, 2016

service projectLawrence Family Development Charter School was founded in 1995 by Patricia Karl, its first Superintendent/Director, a dedicated Board of community leaders and a group of Latino parents seeking an education opportunity for their children that would value their language and culture.

Our school community was filled with generosity – volunteer service and donations – that helped it grow and prosper. Community service was a hallmark for students and early incorporated into graduation requirements. Students have provided at least twenty hours of service in food pantries, nursing homes, after school programs supporting countless needs throughout our community. 

Beginning in 1997 Mrs. Karl traveled to the Dominican Republic with Mision Joven Dominicana – a service mission founded by Benny Espailalt, a local business leader and Fr. Joachim Lally, a founding member of the charter school. Each year Mrs. Karl asked our school community to donate school supplies to take to poor communities in the Dominican Republic where she and others taught in schools, set up medical clinics in areas without access to medical care, and since 2009 have built homes for families and the elderly living in unsafe impoverished homes.

Every year the family that is Lawrence Family Development Charter School and the Maria del Pilar Quintana Family Center has donated hundreds of pounds of school supplies and in recent years, the funds to build one home for one family. The cost of building supplies for one home is $1700 – and in both 2015 and 2016 – enough has been raised to build two homes – helping two families live in dignity and security.

Each year Mrs. Karl has asked for student volunteers to assist with gathering and packing the school supplies as part of their community service. This year six 8th grade students: Clyde Peguero, Ginelly Vasques, Omar Alfonso, Adrian Rodriguez, Angel Casanova, and Shamil Diaz met with Mrs. Karl and designed posters to explain the need for school supplies, then visited classrooms at the Upper School and spoke to students asking for every student to donate materials that would benefit students in the Dominican Republic. On the last day before February vacation week, the students collected hundreds of items from the Upper School, and along with supplies donated by students at the Academy and Lower School, sorted them in categories. Tables in the Foley Library were filled with pencils, pens, crayon, markers, rulers, scissors, notebooks, art paper and children’s backpacks. 

For the first time school supplies would be shipped in large boxes – rather than carted in multiples suitcases – and on Friday, February 12 almost 500 pounds were packed by the students in two large cartons and shipped to the Dominican Republic – thanks to the owners of HomeShop Properties in Methuen.

Mrs. Karl will leave for the Dominican Republic on March 1st – bringing with her the good wishes and the good works of so many from our school and our community.
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Kuumba Singers of Harvard College

On Thursday, January 21, 2016, Lawrence Family Development Charter School (LFDCS) will host two forty-five minute performances by the Kuumba Singers of Harvard College, one for the Upper School students (grades 5-8) and a second for the Lower School students (grades 2-4) Each of the performances will conclude with a question and answer period between the singers and LFDCS students.

In addition to providing a musically enriching experience, Kuumba’s visit allows LFDCS students to see, hear, and meet college students from a wide range of cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. LFDCS' music instructor and Kuumba alumna, Genithia Hogges explains, “In a school that espouses family development, it is vital for students to see college as a realistic goal. This requires that they meet college students who look like them and come from similar circumstances. Too often, students wait until high school to think about college.They do not know what it takes to apply, be accepted, and successfully graduate with a college degree. They do not know what college life is like. In short, they are not ready, so when the time comes, they are left behind. Meeting members of Kuumba can begin to address these issues, planting a seed in the minds and hearts of our students and encouraging them to strive for the excellence necessary to achieve the goal of attending and completing an undergraduate degree”.

The Harvard College website describes the Kuumba Singers by sharing that the group was “established in 1970 by Black students at Harvard College who sought to create a space in which they could celebrate their creativity and spirituality. In an era of ‘Black Power’ and Black pride, immediately following the 1968 assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the choir emerged as a source of community, spiritual inspiration, political motivation and cultural stimulation among the small but growing number of Black students at Harvard. The group chose the name ‘Kuumba’ (Swahili for ‘creativity’) because it best captured the choir’s intent to reflect the creative genius of Black people through the rich diversity of Diasporic music and cultural expression”.
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Doodle 4 Google contest

December 10, 2015

Mia Ormaza with nameLFDCS students are participating the annual Doodle 4 Google contest. Doodle 4 Google is a national competition open to students in grades K-12. Students are invited to create their own Google doodle for the chance to have it featured on the Google homepage. LFDCS submitted for 4 Doodles to competition and 6 runners up. 

For this contest, students created doodles that told the world "What makes" Kids have all kinds of things that make them unique, so they were encouraged to think about that to create their doodles. There were 10 strong candidates. Among them, four drawings were selected for the contest. They will be judged on artistic merit, creativity, and representation of the contest theme.

The national winner will receive a $30,000 college scholarship; a $50,000 Google for Education grant for his or her school; a trip to the Google Headquarters in California to meet the Google Doodlers, and the opportunity to nominate a teacher to come on the trip; a Chromebook; an Android tablet; a t-shirt printed with his or her doodle on it.

Four National Finalists who do not become the National Winner will have their doodles featured in the Doodle 4 Google gallery. Each National Finalist will receive a $5,000 college scholarship; a trip to the Google Headquarters in California to meet the Google Doodlers; an Android tablet; a t-shirt printed with his or her doodle on it.

48 State and Territory winners who do not become National Finalists will have their doodles included in the Doodle 4 Google gallery. Each State and Territory Winner will receive an Android tablet; a t-shirt printed with his or her doodle on it.

Congratulations to all of the LFDCS students who participated in creating innovative and inspirational Doodles. 
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Congratulations to Our Newest Citizens

LFD and the Quintana Family Center congratulate Ms. Ana Mercedes Puente and Ms. Rita Corniel on recently becoming United States Citizens.

AnaAna came to the Lawrence from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic in 2012 to be with her husband and children. Her desire to be part the larger community and to have a voice motivated her to enroll in the citizenship program at the Quintana Center in the spring of 2015. She filed her application for Citizenship in June of 2015, knowing that her biggest struggle would be the interview process. With the encouragement of her teacher and the Quintana Center staff, she completed the process this fall and was sworn in as a US Citizen right before Thanksgiving Day.

RitaRita came to Lawrence from Santiago in the Dominican Republic with her four year old daughter in 2010. In the spring of 2015, she enrolled in the citizenship program at the Quintana Center. She was motivated by her drive to make a difference in the community, and a goal of bringing her parents over from the Dominican Republic. Thanks to the undivided attention, encouragement, and professionalism she found at the Quintana Center, she was sworn in as a US Citizen this fall.

If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a US Citizen, visit our webpage for information on registering for one of our classes.

LFD y el Centro Familiar Quintana felicitan a la Sra. Ana Mercedes Puente y Sra. Rita Corniel por convertirse recientemente en ciudadanías de los Estados Unidos.

AnaAna llego a Lawrence desde Santo Domingo, República Dominicana en el 2012 para acompañar a su esposo e hijos. Sus deseos de ser parte de una comunidad más grande y de tener una voz, la motivo a inscribirse en el programa de ciudadanía en el Centro Quintana en la primavera del 2015. Ella presento su aplicación de Ciudadanía en junio del 2015, sabiendo que la lucha más grande seria el proceso de la entrevista. Con el apoyo de los maestros y el personal del Centro Quintana, ella completo el proceso este otoño y fue juramentada como ciudadana de los Estados Unidos justo antes del Día Acción de Gracias.

RitaRita llego a Lawrence desde Santiago, Republica Dominicana con su hija de cuatros año en 2010. En la primavera del 2015, se inscribió en el programa de Ciudadanía en el Centro Quintana. Ella fue motivada por el impulso para hacer una diferencia en la comunidad, y el objetivo de traer a sus padres de la Republica Dominicana. Gracias a la completa atención, apoyo, y profesionalismo que encontró en el Centro Quintana fue juramentada como ciudadana de los Estados Unidos este otoño.

Si usted o alguien que usted conoce está interesado en convertirse en un Ciudadano de los Estados Unidos, visite nuestra página web para obtener información sobre el registro de una de nuestras clases.
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YouthBuild Lawrence Accepting Applications

paul12Do you know of a young person between the ages of 16 and 24 who would like to attain his/her HiSET (GED) or has a high school diploma and would like to transition into College?

YouthBuild Lawrence is now accepting applications for the 2016 program cycle. Interested young people, between the ages of 16 to 24 and living in the Greater Lawrence area, should visit YouthBuild Lawrence at the historic Orange Wheeler House for one of our information sessions. Sessions are held every Tuesday and Thursday at 2:45 PM.

To find out if you are a fit or to requst complete an initial request for more information visit our webpage  
If you know of a young person between the ages of 16 and 24 who would like to attain his/her HiSET (GED) or has a high school diploma and would like to transition into college, feel free to let them know YBL hosts
WHEN: Every Tuesday and Thursday
TIME: 2:45 PM
PLACE: YouthBuild Lawrence
355 Haverhill Street, Lawrence
Phone number: 978-681-0548
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LFDCS Featured at Mass Charter Schools' 20th Birthday Gala

October 26, 2015

mcharterschoolsOn Saturday, October 22nd at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel, the Massachusetts Charter School Association held a 20th Birthday Party gala. The purpose of the event, which attracted 800 attendees, was to recognize the significance of twenty years of charter schools’ operations in Massachusetts. The gala included Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, former Senate Chair Billy Bulger, Governor Charlie Baker, and Lawrence’s State Representative Frank Moran --- all of whom are charter school champions. Lawrence Family Development Charter School is proud to be one of the fourteen original charter schools in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 

A video with a primary focus on Lawrence Family Development Charter School was premiered at the Gala. Founded in 1995, the Lawrence Family Development, Inc.'s Lawrence Family Development Charter School (LFDCS) is one of the first K-8 Commonwealth public charter schools. As a “Level 1” public school for MCAS performance in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, the work of LFDCS is known for best practices as a Massachusetts urban school. The school uses research-based practices for academic instruction and intervention, and supplements this instruction with after school and summer school programs. 

According to Assistant Superintendent Dr. Judy Marley, “We were delighted the Massachusetts Charter School Association conceptualized the video shown at the gala and selected LFDCS as a focus point. Superintendent Ralph Carrero, as well as our students, teachers, and parents clearly helped the film crew of New Media Advocacy Project demonstrate that Lawrence Family Development Charter School is true to its mission and a beacon of promise in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Funding for the film was supported by the Walton Foundation.
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STEM Center Ribbon Cutting 10/22/15

October 22, 2015

On Thursday, October 22nd, Lawrence Family Development and Lawrence Family Development Charter School celebrated the ribbon cutting for the new LFDCS STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Center. This event marked the official opening and unveiling to donors, parents, and community stakeholders. 
Attendees, in awe of the new facility, expressed gratitude to:


  • Holt & Bugbee Foundation - which is a family-owned, socially-responsible company in Tewksbury and impressed by its Hispanic workforce. With a STEM Center donation, the company is eager to contribute to the workforce of tommorow…….
  • Mr. & Mrs. Kingman Webster - who donated their STEM gift to fund some of the STEM Center’s technology resources……
  • Ms. Cynthia Alekel Mohr & Family – a close friend of Lawrence Family Development Charter School and one of the first donors to the STEM Center. Her gifts to the Center were made with love for the students of Lawrence, where she was educated……
  • The Stevens Foundations – an ongoing supporter of Lawrence Family Development – the Foundation shows special concern for creating opportunities for new immigrant populations in the Merrimack Valley……
  • Webster Family Fund of Essex County Community Foundation (ECCF) – a Fund which invests in Capital improvements.The funds awarded to Lawrence Family Development are from ECCF where Lawrence Family Development’s endowded high school scholarship fund are managed…..
  • Lawrence Family Development Facilities Team - attendees celebrated the tremendous skills and dedication of Lawrence Family Development’s Facilites staff members, who labored many hours to create a fabulous STEM facility for the school community…….

IMG 0236Student Ambassadors gave tours to benefactors, while also finding time to experiment with some of the new technology features of the Center. Students, faculty and guests marveled over the new 3D printer and flew one of the two drones available for student use. The STEM Center will be primarily used by students in the 5th through 8th grades. The Student Ambassadors that participated in welcoming guests and providing tours were: 7th Grade - Arianna Munoz, Albert Reyes, Kasey Bisono, and Kelvin Lopez, 8th Grade - Adrian Rodriguez, Shamil Diaz, Ashley Lara, and Samantha Hernandez. 

In addressing those gathered, the newly-hired LFDCS STEM Coordinator, George Masterson, quoted Sir Isaac Newton: "If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants."

Founded in 1995, the Lawrence Family Development, Inc.'s Lawrence Family Development Charter School (LFDCS) is one of the first K-8 Commonwealth public charter schools. It has operated for twenty years. In March 2015 the school earned its fifth charter to operate as a Massachusetts Public Commonwealth Charter School. As a “Level 1” public school for MCAS performance in 2012, 2013 and 2014, the work of the Lawrence Family Development Charter School is known for its best practices as a Massachusetts urban school. The school uses research-based practices for academic instruction and intervention, and supplements this instruction with after school and summer school programs.

To see more pictures, check out our Flickr page

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2nd Term Registration For ESL and Citizenship Classes Now Open

Registration is currently open for English Language and Citizenship Classes at the Lawrence Family Development's Maria Quintana Center. The 2nd term classes are scheduled to begin in February and will go until June. Classes are available at 4 skill levels. Placement test is required for all levels

Level I: Beginners - entry level for students with no prior to minimal English language proficiencyLevel I-II: Basic - for students with limited English language proficiency
Level III: Intermediate -
for students with basic general understanding of the English language (must have completed Level II)
Level IV: Advanced –
designed for students with a proficiency level of the English language

Classes fill up quickly, so if you are interested contact Sandy at the Quintana Center, or complete the online form

Registraciones corrientemente disponible para clases de Inglés como Segundo Idioma y Ciudadanía en el Lawrence Family Development’s Centro Maria Quintana. Para el segundo semestre las clases están programada para comenzar en febrero hasta Junio. Las clases están disponible para 4 niveles de destrezas. Un examen de entrada es requerido para todos los niveles.

Nivel I: Principiantes
- primer nivel para estudiantes sin previo conocimiento del idioma Inglés
Nivel I-II: Básico – para estudiantes competencia limitada del idioma Ingles
Nivel III: Intermedio – para estudiantes con conocimiento básico general del idioma Ingles (tienen que haber completado el Nivel II)
Nivel IV – diseñado para estudiantes con un nivel de competencia del idioma Ingles

Las clases se llenan pronto, si están interesados por favor contactar a Sandy al Centro Quintana o completar su planilla en línea.

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Orange Wheeler Clip

October 3, 2015

OWCLipThis past week, YouthBuild Lawrence released their newsletter, the Orange Wheeler Clip. The clip highlights some of YouthBuild's most recent accomplishments, including HiSET achievements, successful internships, and a group building field trip to Project Adventure. 

YouthBuild has also opened up the recruitment process for YouthBuild Cycle 21, begining in Feburary of 2016. To read the clip, download here
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LFD FY15 Annual Report

September 30, 2015

annual reportLast night the management team of the Lawrence Family Development, Inc. presented the Fiscal Year 2015 Annual Report at the Funds' Annual Meeting. The FY15 annual report highlights the overall programming outcomes from the past fiscal year and shares some of our program participants stories of success. 

The fund is both excited and humbled to highlight the successes of the Targeted Assistance and Safe and Successful Youth Initiative programs during the past fiscal year. Both programs were entrusted to LFD by the State of Massachusetts and the City of Lawrence  based on our experience and expertise. We hope that, as highlighted in the report, we have lived up the challenges that were entrusted to us. 

The FY15 and FY14 Annual Reports are availble for download
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Alternative Youth Program Kitchen

September 16, 2015
DavidAfter months of work and setbacks due to weather, LFD's Culinary Arts training kitchen is permitted and functional. The completion of the kitchen is just one of the steps towards the expansion of programming and services offered by LFD to Lawrence young people.

When the final permits were issued on Monday morning, Culinary Arts Coordinator, David Wilmer, was finally able to start preparing meals for the YouthBuild and Lawrence Youth Team participants; and preparing participants for a career in food services.

"Its great to finally get this space up and running. I am excited to be able to share a craft that I love with Alterantive Youth Development Program participants." 

The kitchen was built by the amazing LFD facilities team with support from a number of funders, including the City of Lawrence Department of Community Development, the Moselely Foundation, and the Walmart Foundation.
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9/11 Ceremony Lawrence MA., 2015

September 14, 2015

911YBWith the help of Lieutenant Flynn of the Lawrence Fire Department, YouthBuild Lawrence students helped make Lawrence’s 9/11 ceremony a great success. Originally, YB students were supposed to clean the central fire station’s trucks. Due to rainy weather this project was cancelled and our students swept the station in preparation for the ceremony. Lieutenant Flynn led the ceremony with remembrance and an introduction to the new Fire Chief, Brian Moriarty, who also spoke of the 9/11 event.

Brief introductions of State Representative Marcos Devers and Councilman Toomey were also acknowledged. Senator Barbara La’Italien arrived post ceremony and mingled with the crowd. She had been at a previous ceremony. Donuts and coffee were on hand for everyone.

Photos and videos were taken by our YouthBuild student, Karim Palmer. Posters were made by our students in memory to remind all,” Do Not Forget.”

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New School Year

September 10, 2015

schoolOn August 25th, Lawrence Family Development Charter School kicked off its 21st school year. The LFDCS graduating class of 2025 joined the ranks of 700 students for the 2015/2016 school year. This school year marks the beginning of LFDCS' 5th Charter as a Commonwealth of Massachusetts Charter School. LFD and LFDCS staff are excited to once again hear the sounds of happy students going about learning. For more on the Charter School visit
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North Shore Magazine

September 3, 2015

YouthBuild NorthShore MagThe September issue of NorthShore magazine features an article on the great work being done at our own YouthBuild Lawrence, with quotes from LFD's Director of Alternative Youth Programs, April Lyskowksy. 

Check it out online at the link below.
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Quintana Registration

August 1, 2015

LFD is now offering online registration for the Citizenship for New Americans program at the Maria del Pilar Quintana Center. Register now for the Fall session at the Maria del Pilar Quintana Family Center. Applications are being accepted for ESL and Citizenship classes. Classes are filled on a first come, first served basis.

Participants are tested and placed into an ESL class based on their ability. 

Session begin in September and March. 
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YouthBuild Online Registration

August 1, 2015

If you are an out of school youth between the ages of 16 and 24, you can learn more about our alternative youth programs at You can will soon be able to register online for our next session, which begins in February of 2017. 

YouthBuild Lawrence is a part of the YouthBuild Massachusetts Coalition and an affiliate of YouthBuild USA. Programming is provided free of cost to qualified participants. Participants are provided with uniforms and workboots and are expected to attend all classes. Students are provided the opportunity to complete their Hi-SET (High School Equivelency Test) and participate in a construction project in the City of Lawrence. 
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Lawrence Family Development, Inc. is excited to update our web presence with the launch of our new websites. You will now be able to learn more about our mission in action in the City of Lawrence.
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