Alive & Free believes that every young person has the potential to succeed. Bright futures are possible for all of our youth, but it’s easy to get off-track. Sadly, violence – which spreads like a disease in our communities – locks up that potential and leaves young people incarcerated or worse–dead.
At the heart of the Alive & Free Prescription is the notion that violence is a social disease with an explicit treatment process. Like a disease, it is transmitted by the germs of bad information, bad instruction, bad advice, and bad examples that to young people appear to be good. Youth are exposed to these “germs” via their families, peers and neighborhoods; through music, television, video games and movies. The disease appears as techniques for survival known as “game” or “street smarts” when in fact the opposite is true. Infected youth believe they are getting information to live by when in fact they are getting information to die by.
The “Alive & Free Prescription” works to change beliefs, attitudes, values and actions that promote violence. Alive & Free identifies and addresses the symptomatic thinking that puts young people at risk (Commandments of Violence), the actions that put young people at risk for violence (Risk Factors), the feelings and emotions that contribute to violent behavior (Emotional Residue of Anger, Fear, and Pain), and the Rules for Living that promote positive lifestyle choices. Young people who learn the Alive & Free prescription also have a new set of life skills to make choices that help them go to college, succeed in life, and give back to their communities.
First Place was founded in 1998 to prevent poverty and homelessness among the growing, yet largely overlooked population of kids who have grown up in foster care in the Bay Area. Many of the youth we serve have experienced severe trauma and neglect as children and have yet to develop critical independent living and self-sufficiency skills needed to be independent. As a result, they are highly vulnerable to becoming homeless, unemployed, undereducated, and living in poverty. The mission of First Place is to help foster youth build the skills they need to make a successful transition to self-sufficiency and responsible adulthood.
Meritus College Fund was founded with the belief that higher education has the power to transform lives. For 20 years, Meritus has empowered ambitious, determined young people from low-income communities around the Bay Area to succeed in college and excel in their futures.
The Meritus model recognizes that success for low-income young people does not result from just a check in the mail. To date, Meritus has supported more than 750 students on their college journeys through a combination of financial support, individualized advising, and career development resources. 100% of current Meritus Scholars report that they turn to Meritus and its staff of advisors for more than money.
Meritus Scholars have received:
· >$9.4 million in scholarship assistance since 1996
· >1,250 hours of college success advising each year
· >1,000 hours of career mentoring each year
The result? 88% of Meritus Scholars graduate from college, compared to just 26% of their peers.
This year we celebrate our 20 years of service to the community!
SquashDrive uses squash coaching as a ‘hook’ to draw low income public school students in Oakland into academic classes (2 hours 3 days a week is equally divided between squash and academics). They are serving 60 students now but grows every year as they recruit from 4th/5th grades annually from Oakland’s Aspire Berkley Maynard Charter School. The focus on squash enables the students to travel to various cities for tournaments, as well as apply to and gain admission to prestigious east coast high schools as well as universities. Nevertheless, academic support was equally weighted. They are running a threadbare organization using Cal Berkeley sport facilities, and there is substantial volunteer involvement (Cal students both coaching squash as well as helping with tutoring). Also, they have a very good relationship with the Charter school (Oakland’s Aspire Berkley Maynard). Every year, the program expands to keep these kids in the program, and they have got upto 9th/10th grade now (and will go all the way to 12th). Extra funding will therefore go towards supporting a new class every year.
SEO Scholars San Francisco’s mission is to transform low-income public high school students into college graduates by developing the essential academic skills they need to graduate from competitive four-year colleges and become high-impact contributors to their communities and the nation. To prepare for success at competitive colleges, Scholars participate in rigorous academic programming in high school and receive personalized academic and psychosocial support until college graduation.