DISMANTLING THE PIPELINE TO PRISON AND BUILDING ON-RAMPS TO YOUTH LEADERSHIP
Early in FLY’s history, we realized that positive youth transformation is only possible when the systems they interact with help facilitate that transformation. We believe that in addition to working with individual youth, we need to advocate for all youth involved in, or at risk of becoming involved in, the juvenile justice system. Our intention is to leverage our reputation, organizational capacity and impact, and youth-centered values to help make local and statewide systems more just, humane, and equitable.
We have three primary approaches:
Elevating Youth Voice
FLY will continue to leverage its strong reputation for working with system-involved youth and elevating youth voice in efforts to reform system policies and practices.
We will also support youth leadership in efforts to influence local systems decision making and prioritization, training of systems staff, as well as to spur innovation that drives towards greater systems impact.
In addition to FLY’s Youth Advisory Council, there are many other examples of FLY youth leveraging their experiences to benefit other justice-involved youth and our system partners:
FLY youth completed a training for Santa Clara County Public Defenders on how to engage most effectively with their teen clients.
FLY youth did research and prepared both written and oral reports for executive leadership at the Santa Clara County Probation Department on how to redesign and improve their long-term locked facility; nearly all of their recommendations were adopted.
FLY Leadership youth, as well as FLY volunteers, have sat on the San Mateo County Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council (JJCC), which advises the Chief Probation Officer and other juvenile justice stakeholders on how to use funding for juvenile services and prevention and intervention efforts across the county.
Several FLY youth have been given the Youth Voice position in the City of San Jose Mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Force over the years.
FLY youth have traveled to Washington, D.C. to participate in conferences held by the Department of Justice on youth and police relations, and youth, gangs, and violence.
FLY leadership will continue to serve on local bodies to effect change in practice by juvenile justice agencies.
FLY will continue exploring ways for our youth leaders to partner with local and statewide justice system leaders to innovate and to advocate for other youth.
Throughout our history, FLY’s proximity to decision-makers who influence youth’s daily experience in the justice and education systems give us opportunities to advocate for youth in our programs and in the systems as a whole.
We also take a stand on issues through letters of support and op-eds, joining coalitions of groups involved in justice reform, and speaking at public events and events sponsored by our system partners.
“Before FLY I was a hopeless and lost child. And now with FLY’s help I am on my way to becoming a successful adult.” — FLY Youth