article by Matthew O. Stephens, photo by Val Mohney
SPOKANE – Helping kids and families open doors to better opportunities is a big part of local entrepreneur Luc Jasmin III’s life, and watching his father helped develop that motivation at a young age.
It’s no secret the needs of families are growing, and the issues are having a serious effect in the low- and middle-income families. With housing prices skyrocketing and nationwide shortages of products like formula, parents are forced to look for options to keep their lives on track.
Jasmin III oversees six businesses in the area, most of which are geared toward helping children learn. He also helps prospective business owners find their footing as he runs the Jasmin and Associates bookkeeping firm as well. The non-profit organization Jasmin III heads is Northeast Youth and Family Services (NEYFS), and he looks to really focus on helping families living in northeast Spokane.
“Some of the things I really advocate for are community development whether it is housing, community safety, or something else,” Jasmin III said. “I really just see this urgent need in our community, so I am trying to dig deep and reach out to make a difference.”
According to the community-focused entrepreneur NEYFS not only offers a lot of services to area residents but can also connect families with other outlets.
NEYFS partners with Milestones Pediatric Therapy to help families with physical and occupational therapy, and this can help children affected by developmental issues. Canopy Credit Union also helps NEYFS families by offering financial literacy classes.
Jasmin also explained how recent world issues have really affected the mental health and wellness of area families and shared how a partnership with Excelsior Wellness is becoming increasingly beneficial.
“We have been incredibly blessed with the entities that have partnered with us,” Jasmin said. “We were really excited when Excelsior decided to join us because their services are in very high demand right now. With everything the world has gone through in recent years, people in the area really need a solid mental health outlet they can turn to.”
Rising costs of housing, fuel, and other resources have also put more pressure on the average household budget, and families are forced to re-evaluate what they can spend on food.
“A lot of our demographics are single mothers that are needing assistance who are stuck in the state’s system,” Jasmin III said. “They have all these bills going up, but they are capped at how much they can make because the state will start stripping benefits as these people make more.”
“In all rights we absolutely want them to get on their own feet, but the state system will pull the rug out from under people that are still trying to stand,” he added.
NEYFS also offers food and nutrition programs for families struggling with food insecurity, and even offers partnerships to help people find clothing for any age and size along with any hygiene products they may need.
According to Jasmin III, he is driven to help as many people as possible, especially children because he “knows what it’s like to be that child.”
Growing up Haitian American, Jasmin spoke of always not necessarily having the same shoes or clothing that other kids had, and it can affect the confidence a child carries. Sharing that his father worked incredibly hard to provide for his family, Jasmin III said his father also inspired community action.
“He led by example and showed me that being proactive in the community is the best way to create positive influence,” said Jasmin III.
Watching his father work with different financial institutions helped him gain an interest in numbers, and Jasmin III said he initially wanted to be a math teacher, because he could work with numbers and teach kids at the same time.
That led to Jasmin III taking a substitute teaching job early on, which Jasmin III claims he still thinks about, and that transitioned into him serving more of a mentorship role within the school system.
“When I was subbing I really got to see the truth of some kids go through feeling left behind or just not able to build confidence for one reason or another,” Jasmin III said. “I was in a short-term assignment for a fourth-grade class, and I had a student just come up to me one day and tell me they just couldn’t continue coming to school. I couldn’t fathom what would make a fourth grader want to just drop and quit school, but I think about that kid every day because as a substitute I never got to know what happened with him.”
Realizing that some of these kids were really struggling at a young age, Jasmin III decided to focus more on early learning opportunities.
For the past nine years he has been running operations at the Parkview Early Learning Center in Spokane and spoke of the growth in numbers and services.
“When I first took over at Parkview we had two providers that were working for us,” said Jasmin III. “Now our facility employs 30 caretakers and we have over 130 children we provide services for. We are definitely moving in the right direction.”
Hoping to continue that trend of growth, Jasmin III said he is optimistic about things moving forward because “we can only keep going up,” he stated.
“Childcare is at a point of crisis nationwide, and there is a lot of work to be done,” said Jasmin III. “But it’s good to know that our people are working hard to keep our businesses and establishments on the right track.”