Thanks to Carmen Andino-Talavera, FLY’s CAFA (Court Appointed Friend and Advocate) Mentor Program Manager, Santa Clara County, and Felicia Cantu, FLY’s Leadership and CAFA Mentor Program Manager, Alameda County, who shared a recent FLYlight (what we call our highlights) with all of us. Using technology to overcome the separation caused by the current shelter-in-place orders, their teams jointly hosted FLY’s first-Ever Virtual New Mentor training via Zoom for 18 future mentors. The event even included a panel of current and former youth, who provided laughs and inspiration as they spoke and then answered questions about their experiences in the program.
Ali Knight, Chief Operating Officer, Fresh Lifelines for Youth March 2020 As we are seeing through the global spread of COVID-19, the virus is infecting and affecting the human race without consideration for race, gender, class, or social status. Yet how we respond as a human race seems to be divided accordingly. Indeed, this pandemic appears to have created a new way to discriminate against certain parts of our population, which puts the most marginalized at the greatest risk. As a justice-focused organization, we see this public health crisis as a justice issue. We will take this opportunity to advance
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
An update from our CEO: In many ways, the pandemic has further exposed the long road of work that we have ahead of us. We believe now more than ever in the importance of FLY’s strategic plan to continue to expand our direct services, build evidence that demonstrates our programs work, create and implement a systems change plan in partnership with those systems, and figure out ways to offer our learning to others through technical assistance…all the while centering youth and their voices as key leaders and collaborators in working toward the change we all hope to see. We look forward
For years, FLY youth have said that if they had FLY in middle school, they probably wouldn’t have made the same choices. Responding to the need, FLY developed its Middle School Program, a combination of law-related education and one-on-one case management and coaching for young people ages 12-14. FLY’s Middle School Program focuses on intervening early in the school-to-prison pipeline, which disproportionately impacts youth who experience various forms of exclusion and marginalization, such as poverty and racism. Youth facing these and other risk are more likely to disengage from school and become involved in the juvenile justice system. To illustrate
Incarcerating youth comes at an enormous cost—an average of about $285,000 per year per incarcerated youth in California in 2019, with numbers much higher here in the Bay Area. FLY has played an important role in community-wide efforts to reduce the number of youth incarcerated and its costly impact on taxpayers. Youth incarceration is supposed to be about rehabilitation, but research and our experience shows that incarcerating kids just makes things worse, and the costs are much more than economic. For example, two out of three youth who have been incarcerated don’t return to school after their release. Being locked