A message from FLY’s President and CEO, Ali Knight, about the need for FLY to lean in and do even more work for justice.
In August 2020 Juvenile Courts had shut down all across California due to COVID-19. Josy was about to turn 18 and had originally planned to apply for the Extended Foster Care and Benefits Program authorized by California Assembly Bill 12. The program is aimed toward youth who don’t have a guardian, and provides them with housing, support, and college financing.
However, in order to qualify the youth are required to apply before they turn 18. Usually application is a six-month process and with the courts closed and his birthday coming soon, everyone was telling Josy that gaining AB-12 status was impossible — and he was beginning to believe them.
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.
Minutes after FLY’s virtual CEO Transition ceremony, we sat down with Christa and Ali to hear their initial thoughts in their new positions along with their biggest takeaways since COVID-19.
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