Acts of Kindness: Daniel Wathen

LAS VEGAS - Three years ago, Zafra Figueroa left her Las Vegas home to escape her abusive, alcoholic father.

"I just couldn't take any more," she said.

She came to the Drop-In Center at the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth. The facility provides a safety net for young people like Figueroa.

"I honestly don't know what I would have done without their help," she said.

The agency helps homeless youth like Figueroa stay off the streets. It provides all the resources and support necessary to move forward, including basic items such as clothing, hygiene products and food. The facility also provides housing, computer access for school and employment and plenty of counseling.

In addition to the Drop-In Center, Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth offers an independent living program, an emergency shelter and a program for at-risk youth.

Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth Executive Director Arash Ghafoori says the agency can only survive with help from the community.

"Here alone at this facility, we saw a thirty percent increase in visits this year over last year," he said.

One of the agency's biggest supporters is Expedia. "They're actually lending their experts they have on staff," Ghafoori said.

Daniel Wathen was the mastermind behind that partnership – which provides a volunteer army that stocks food and hygiene pantries, assembles survival packs and sack lunches and provides financial services to help the agency meet growing demand.

"This was more about what can we do? Help them, help drive some of the business element they're trying to raise up," he said.

Teens in transition like Figueroa say the support the volunteers offer is crucial. Now 19-years-old, she's attending college, seeking employment and looking forward with something she never possessed before.

"They gave me hope," she said.

8 News NOW is rewarding Daniel Wathen's efforts, awarding him $800 as part of its weekly series Acts of Kindness.

If you wish to nominate someone for Acts of Kindness, visit our website or e-mail us.


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