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.
One of the few premises that everyone in this country can agree on is that our political process is in serious disarray. At the same time – and not coincidentally– civics education is failing in this country for two reasons: either traditional civics is ineffective, or it has been pushed out of our schools entirely.
Generation Citizen (GC), a nonpartisan nonprofit organization, works to ensure that every student in the United States receives an effective “action civics” education, which provides them with the knowledge and skills necessary to participate in our democracy as active citizens.
Through an innovative in-class curriculum, students work with local leaders to fix local problems.
Generation Citizen is committed to targeting low-income schools for partnership, because while civic disengagement afflicts the entire American public, it is particularly pronounced among low-income and minority youth. The consequence of this “Civic Engagement Gap” is that entire communities lack the civic knowledge and skills to address vital issues they face. Generation Citizen was designed to interrupt that trend with a specific goal of enhancing students’ civic knowledge, civic skills and civic motivation.
Generation Citizen began operating in Providence in 2008, then quickly expanded to Boston in 2009, New York City in 2010, the Bay Area in 2013, and most recently launched in Central Texas and Oklahoma City. Generation Citizen currently serves nearly 10,000 students nationally, and locally, nearly 1,500 students all throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Learn more at www.generationcitizen.org.
Meritus College Fund was founded with the belief that higher education has the power to transform lives. Since 1996, 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:
· >$10.2 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!
In the San Francisco Bay Area, there are over 80,000 16 – 24 year-olds who are disconnected from education, employment and social supports needed to transition to adulthood. Without intervention, these young people are at high risk of becoming chronically unemployed and dependent on public aid for the rest of their lives. Founded in 1981, New Door Ventures helps disconnected youth overcome these barriers by providing the meaningful jobs, training, and personal support they need to succeed in the workplace and in the rest of life.
Employment: Through individualized case management, skill building workshops, educational support, and on-the-job learning, young people complete our 14-week program having mastered skills that help them land their next job. Youth intern at one of our two social enterprises (Pedal Revolution and Ashbury Images) or with one of our local business partners.
Education: 50% of all New Door youth enter without having completed high school. In May 2015, we launched a new high school equivalency program to help these young people earn a GED, HiSET or CHSPE. Our approach is highly individualized, teaching subject content alongside social-emotional learning, enrichment activities, and 1:1 tutoring.
Our program uses evidence-based, best-practice youth development strategies. Historically, over 90% of our program graduates are in school, working or both 6 months following graduation. If needed, we provide referrals for housing, mental health, food, clothing, legal services—whatever it takes to keep youth working and learning. When they finish with our program, youth have an open invitation to return for support. We are a learning organization with state of the art monitoring and evaluation of our work to ensure maximum effectiveness and impact. Learn more at http://www.newdoor.org/.