Our Story

What is Lauren's House?

Lauren's House for Positive Change Inc. is a certified 501(c)(3) dedicated to improving the education and well-being of low-income youth and their families in San Mateo County, CA, specifically East Palo Alto and East Menlo Park. Our Tax ID is 26-3809833. We primarily focus on reading development, socioemotional learning, community service, and cultural enrichment. Please see the Programs and Services page to learn more about what we offer.
Our staff is made up of an Executive Director, a Board of Directors, and a team of 20+ volunteers in tutoring, peer mentoring, grant writing, social media management, website development, and fundraising. Our Executive Director, Monique Graves, runs the after-school and summer programs.

What programs and services do you offer?

Please see our Services page to learn more about what we can do for you and your child.

How did Lauren's House start?

Executive Director, Monique Graves, founded Lauren's House in 2009 to tutor the friends of her then sixth grade daughter, Lauren, whom the organization was named after. A close friend of Lauren's approached Monique and confessed that they did not have adult figures they could turn to for homework help. What started off as tutoring one or two students snowballed into a group of kids coming to various community spaces four days of the week after school for assist with homework.
Since 2009 Lauren's House has expanded to serve 20 children during the school year and 30 during the summer. While programming was initially held at the East Palo Alto Seventh-Day Adventist Church, we now operate out of the Belle Haven Branch Library in East Menlo Park. We were able to continue operating during the COVID-19 pandemic through in-person, socially distanced tutoring sessions.

What sets Lauren's House apart?

Our Executive Director's upbringing equips her to form deep community ties, develop programming tailored to community needs, and empathize with the youth and family members we serve. Born and raised in East Palo Alto, Monique also raised her two children in her hometown. Since her children attended the wealthier Palo Alto Unified School District yet did extracurriculars with kids from Ravenswood City School District in East Palo Alto, she saw the stark divide in resources allocated to youth who lived less than five miles apart.
This means our Executive Director has personally experienced or seen the difficulties that vulnerable youth grapple with: lack of quality education, physical and emotional abuse, child hunger, single-parent households, absence of adult mentors, homelessness, contacts with the criminal justice system, and mental health issues.
Furthermore, Monique works part-time as a School-Based Mental Health Therapist for Los Altos School District, outside of running Lauren's House. This means that the socioemotional learning and counseling that our children receive come from a certified mental health professional. Our attention to socioemotional development is embedded within our daily programming.

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