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New Initiatives for FLY

FLY is 20 in 2020

October 2020 will mark exactly 20 years since the first FLY law class was taught by Christa Gannon. At the time, Christa was FLY’s only staff member and she worked with a handful of volunteers to serve youth in a few neighborhoods in San Jose. Today, with 65+ staff, 200+ volunteers, and a growing list of programs, FLY serves approximately 2,500 youth annually throughout the Bay Area. We’ll celebrate this coming October with our longest-running supporters and stakeholders, then with all of the FLY Family at our Showcase event in December.

Systems Change

FLY believes the systems that funnel children and young adults into prisons is failing them and our communities. Leveraging nearly 20 years of partnering closely with youth and the systems that impact them, FLY is in a unique position to support efforts to bring about positive, equitable, and lasting change. Our theory of change and strategic plan, Imagine 2030, both call out systems change as an imperative to deepening the organization’s impact, and we are ready to define and expand our approach. This year, we’ll create new structures and support for our local system change efforts. We’ll then create a state-level platform that centers the voice and participation of our youth to help improve the criminal justice system for all California kids.

Career Pathways Navigators

The state is also recognizing the impactful work that FLY is doing in other areas, including our efforts to advance education and career opportunities for youth. We had a theory that if we could add a specific role to provide connection to education, relevant training, and career opportunities for our youth, we could move the needle on their progress. We are able to put this theory into practice through an investment from the Board of State and Community Corrections in 2019. Their Title II Grant Program is helping to fund the creation of the Career Pathways Navigator role at FLY. One full-time staff member in each of FLY’s three counties will work with FLY’s case managers to give youth access to the opportunities they need.