Middle School Program (“GOLD”)

FLY’s Middle School Program, known as Goal Oriented Leadership Development (“GOLD”) serves 1,000 7th and 8th grade youth in under-resourced communities with higher rates of crime and school drop-out. FLY’s GOLD program grew out of recommendations from our probation youth who noted that “trouble started when we were younger.” FLY adapted its 12-week Law Program curriculum and Leadership Program to address issues facing younger youth.

GOLD has 3 key components:

  • Law Course: 5-day course, typically offered during the regular school hours in a social studies or health class. Using a curriculum adapted from our comprehensive 12-week law course for probation youth, FLY  provides critical information on the consequences of crime and how to use legal knowledge to handle negative peer pressure. Our interactive lessons include role-plays to capture youth interest and build skills in conflict management, problem solving, empathy, and resisting negative peer pressure. And FLY high school aged youth who are on active probation come to a class to share their stories and give advice to middle schoolers on how to resist peer pressure and say no to drugs, alcohol, and crime.
  • College Field Trip: After the law course, youth can elect to take a college field trip where they take a campus tour, learn about college admissions, participate in a juvenile justice lesson, and act out a trial in the moot court room. This experience stimulates their interest in education and dispels the myth that no matter where they come from, economically or socially, they can go to college.
  • Mentoring: At the end of the above two components FLY works closely with school officials to identify those youth at greatest risk of dropping out of school and into crime.  Thirty of these youth are then provided with service in the GOLD Program which helps at-risk youth focus on their academics and change their behavior, such that they can successfully graduate from middle school/8th grade through individual case management.

FLY staff recruit, train, and support mentors who are matched with up to three youth. This unique model allows for FLY staff and mentors to gain insight on student’s strengths and assets during individual meetings, as well as an opportunity for youth to practice their life skills and goal setting with their peers in the safety of small group sessions. Mentors also provide homework support, and attend the group activities, workshops, and service learning projects provided by FLY staff.  This builds a community of positive pro-social adults and peers, which for youth results in confidence, skills, and an increase in school engagement.

The Middle School Program’s Impact

After the law course component, over 90% of consistently report that because of FLY:

  • they are less likely to break the law
  • knowing about the law gives them more confidence to resist negative peer pressure
  • they have access to positive role models

Additionally for those youth in the case management component:

  • 100% attended school and continued on into their next grade
  • 100% did not get involved with the juvenile justice system
  • 90% were not expelled during the program year
  • 80% were not suspended during the program year

As one teacher shared recently: “FLY is one program I wish every one of my students could have, it really helps to have someone there for the kids to check up on them and help them be successful in school and life.  Without FLY I am not sure that any of these kids would have made it through another year of school.

For more information contact: Brian@flyprogram.org