Mission & History

Mission

FLY’s mission is to prevent juvenile crime and incarceration through legal education, leadership training, and one-on-one mentoring. At FLY we believe ALL our children deserve a chance to become more than their past mistakes.

FLY’s Vision

FLY’s vision is that our most at-risk and disadvantaged youth will transform from juvenile delinquents into positive community leaders, a community of people will support them in that process and our local juvenile justice systems will provide more effective and humane services.

Our Values

FLY’s six core organizational values:

  • Care – displayed towards clients, co-workers, stakeholders, and volunteers
  • Commitment – to hard work, having fun, and the display of unconditional and nonjudgmental love
  • Respect – for diversity, creativity, and inclusion of different people, backgrounds, thoughts, and experiences
  • Responsibility and accountability
  • Professionalism
  • Change – willingness to change ourselves, change minds, change lives, change systems, and be a change agent

History

In 1996 a Stanford law student, Christa Gannon, helped start a volunteer program in which law students taught legal education to youth incarcerated in Santa Clara County’s Juvenile Hall. At the end of the program, Christa asked the youth to help her design programs that they felt would prevent juvenile crime. They recommended developing a course to help troubled youth understand the law, giving at-risk youth positive role models, and creating opportunities for youth on probation to do something positive for their communities. In 1998, Christa received the George Soros Foundation award, a two-year fellowship to pilot these ideas, allowing her to bolster the youth’s input with best practices in youth development and crime prevention. The result was innovativeoutcome-based and research informed programs that inspire and empower youth to alter the trajectory of their lives. The programs were so successful that when the fellowship ended in 2000, Christa incorporated the project into a nonprofit.

When FLY began, it had one staff member, five volunteers, 25 clients and a budget of $32,500. Today, Christa serves as FLY’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer with 50 staff, over 200 volunteers, and a budget of $5.1 million. FLY serves more than 1,000 probation and at-risk youth, and 1,000 middle school youth at risk of system involvement. To this day the bedrock of what FLY provides is what our incarcerated youth first suggested – a range of programs including legal education, leadership training, and one-on-one mentoring.

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