As our programs operate against the backdrop of a global health pandemic, our work to pursue justice for youth is front and center. Right now, FLY is evolving from a “service to some” organization into the “justice for all” organization we were always intended to be.
Due to COVID-19, all of FLY’s volunteer training had to be conducted virtually. Our staff approached this new endeavor with both excitement and nervousness. They were stepping into the unknown, but with great communication and preparation, the SCC Law Program was able to recruit 15 new volunteers for this year’s Fall semester! The training itself was a huge success, and our staff were able to tackle each item they set out to teach our volunteers.
At FLY, it has always been a special honor and privilege to support our youth as they strive toward their educational goals. Despite the exceptional circumstances of this school year, the FLY class of 2020 had 43 high school graduates!
The Leadership Training Program (LTP) is an opportunity for young people to receive one-on-one support and do more for their community while learning life skills in the process. This video describes how our 2020 Peer Leaders in Santa Clara County chose to learn more about families experiencing homelessness and the ways this impacts their community.
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.
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