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!
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