Mission Statement

To provide teens aging out of the foster care system with all of the resources and support of an intact family. To allow the greatest opportunity for a successful transition to adulthood.

The transition from adolescence to adulthood is a difficult transition, even with an intact family structure.  Recent studies have shown that the average young person must rely on parental support during this transitional period, and do not actually become self-sufficient until age 26.  By contrast, youth exiting the foster care systems do not have this option; they are cut off from their sole support system at age 18.

Where most teens are entering this time of their life with a sense of awe and opportunity, foster kids are left in a state of desperation.  Without a home to return to, they often sleep on couches, in cars or turn themselves in to the local homeless shelter.  For these kids the future is bleak.

Our College Home

We provide young women (18-24 years old) homeless after foster care and at risk homeless youth with room and board, college support, paid job internships, savings program, automobile obtainment program and independent living education. All of The Teen Project's homes are beautiful. We believe where and how a kid lives reflects on how they feel about themselves. Each of our young women have their own room in a beautilful neighborhood and live-in house mom provides for a real family environment.


The Teen Project of Venice

PAD Drop in Center

Serving youth that are homeless in Los Angeles. The Venice PAD (Protection and Direction) Drop in center is on Windward Avenue in the heart of Venice Beach, home to hundreds of homeless youth who come from alll over the United States. The mission of The PAD is to move youth from the streets to safe housing, education and job obtainment quickly.

Where other organizations may provide resources (food, clothes, ID obtainment and more) to youth living on the streets, our organization is adamant that we need to move these kids off the streets and to safe housing immediately. The resources provided to the homeless population liviing on the streets, is the very thing that draws them there. The kids in Venice tell us they come there because you can live on the in the beautiful weather and obtain everything they need to survive there. 98% of the youth we serve are not from California and only 2 of the youth we served were from the Venice area. The streets are dangerous and we have a small window of opportunity before they become habitually homeless. The Teen Project is a parent to the parentless. These are "our" kids and we can help them now to get their life on track before it is too late.

There is over 10 million dollars in donations going to resources for homeless people in the Venice area. While the resources are nice, they enable people to stay on the streets. If the resources were moved into the housing programs (The Teen Project, PATH, Share!) we would be helping the community and the homeless people. Our overriding goal is to educate the community to donate to the shelters, drawing the homeless population to the shelters, rather than the streets.

Each youth entering our center is assessed and goals set to return to family or locate a suitable housing alternative to meet their specific needs and get them back on track. We provide housing to 45-60 youth per year since arriving in Venice Beach in 2012.

The Teen Project's Freehab

The Teen Project's Freehab is the ONLY free drug treatment center that is dedicated to homeless youth in Los Angeles. It is also the only program that provides treatment and educational training on one unique site. As with all of our programs, the kids are provided with beautiful living arrangements.

Freehab provides young women exiting foster care, sex trafficked and homeless with everything our founder received 28 years ago (when she was homeless and prosituted) to turn her life around. Freehab is a fully licensed treatment center with vocational school onsite, providing California's most vulnerable youth with a one-stop shop for a life transformation. The program is one-year long with 90 days of intensive treatment, 90 days of vocational training and 6-months of vocational training and job obtainment. The end goal is transition to permanent housing with a life sustaining career. The core of the training is focused on technology (web development and design) although other career paths are offered in the fields of machining, medical billing, cullinary arts and many additional trades.


National Text Shelter Service

Youth can text SHELTER and their ZIP code (SHELTER 90210) to the phone number 99000 from anywhere in the nation and receive a response with a local shelter


Our Team

lb smallLAURI BURNS: Lauri Burns founded The Teen Project in 2007 in her off hours while working full time. Lauri aged out of the foster care system at age 18 to drug addiction, prostitution and homelessness. She was rescued from the streets at age 23. Lauri is a keynote inspirational speaker, author and has raised 32 teenage foster kids in her personal home. Lauri is a national advocate for homeless youth, a keynote inspirational speaker & author. Her story has been published in PEOPLE, Family Circle, Oprah and she has appeared on CNN, CBS, FOX and ABC News. She has been awarded by The Jewish Journal, LA Business Journal and others for her philanthropic efforts towards rescuing America’s homeless youth.

JEFFJEFFREY RUBENSTEIN: graduated with Dean's Honors from UCLA, then attended Loyola Law School. Rubenstein joined the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office as a Deputy District Attorney under Gil Garcetti, where he prosecuted sex crimes, gang crimes, domestic violence, stalking and sophisticated white collar and identity theft crimes. After leaving the DA's office in 1998 Rubenstein dedicated himself to the practice of criminal defense law. Rubenstein is also a Professor of Public Administration and Legal Policy and teaches at the graduate level at National University. Jeffrey works with the Constitutional Rights Foundation where he provides annual lectures and publications on constitutional law, criminal law and procedure at the Summer Law Institute.  

paulPAUL BLAVIN: Serves on The Teen Project Executive Board. Paul is the founder of Graceful Light Entertainment, a company committed to harnessing the power of exceptional art (including video, music and film) to inspire hope, create awareness of critical human issues and, ultimately, compel positive social action. In his prior career as a financier, Paul served as an investment banker with Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, the President of First Mercury Financial Corporation, a publicly traded insurance company, and founded and managed a private investment partnership, PWB Value Partners, L.P. His partnership began in 1995 with three investors and $3.2 million under management. Over 14 years, the business grew to more than 80 investors and approximately $2.0 billion. Net of fees and expenses, his firm consistently outperformed the S&P 500 index. In addition to his service at The Teen Project, Paul's provides foster youth who would not have the opportunity otherwise, with college scholarships through the Blavin Scholars program founded by he and his wife Amy.

dwDENNIS WOOTAN: is the Chairman of the Board He is a business consultant in the areas. of organizational development, human resources, compensation, and employee benefits. A graduate of the University of California, Berkeley in Communications and Public Policy and of the University of California, Irvine with a Master of Science in Administration, he also holds the designations of Certified Employee Benefits Specialist and Certified Compensation Consultant. Dennis is a seasoned and capable executive with demonstrated skills working in both large and small organizations, responsible for creating new business units, integrating mergers and acquisitions, and improving existing business unit performance. Formerly Director of Employee Benefits for Northrop Grumman Corp., he is a nationally recognized human resources and employee benefits professional with international benefits experience and a global perspective. Dennis serves as the Vice Chairman of the Personnel Board and previously served for over 10 years as Commissioner of the Community Redevelopment and Housing Commission, both for the City of Santa Ana, CA. He also serves as Vice Chairman and a Member of the Board of Trustees and as Chairman, Human Resources Committee for the National Youth Science Foundation, Charleston, West Virginia.

nsNANCY SOBEL: Serves on The Teen Project Executive Board. Nancy is a licensed psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles, CA. She works with individuals, couples, families, groups and rock bands. She also regularly conducts workshops on healthy relationships and balanced living at the Miraval resort in Tucson, Arizona. Dr. Sobel is widely known for her work in the entertainment industry and has designed a unique style of therapy for musicians and artists who spend large amounts of time on the road. She developed the clinical portion of MusiCares, a charity for impaired musicians funded in association with the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Dr. Sobel specializes in the treatment of trauma, addictions and compulsive disorders including sexual, financial and relationship. Dr. Sobel has worked in the addiction field for over thirty years and has consulted in the development of treatment programs in the United States and abroad

MORGMORGAN LAMOTHE:  A Los Angeles native, Morgan, has be actively involved in non-profits for over 15 years working and assisting with organizations such as APCHs' 'Stars and Strikes' celebrity events, Casa Pacifica 'Angels Ball' - 'Annual Food & Wine festivals' and The Susan G Komen Foundation.  Morgan has been an entrepreneur and sales executive in Los Angeles and Orange County for over 10 years. She is a specialist in business management, event design, culinary arts, marketing and sales. Currently Morgan is a Sales Manager for a full service catering & event company.  Morgan has worked as a Youth Counselor with at risk youth at Casa Pacifica, a level 14 facility, and she holds certifications as a California Youth Counselor as well as being LSCI trained and certified.  Morgan is the force behind the amazing Teen Project fundraising activities.