CBO Spotlight: Fresh Lifelines for Youth

With all the partners that we are working with, it's important to get to know our CBOs and what they have to offer our students.  This month, let's learn more about the Fresh Lifelines for Youth, also known as FLY.  For further information, please contact Jamela Joseph, Alameda County Program Manager.  

Who is your audience?
Fresh Lifelines for Youth (FLY) provides legal education, mentoring and leadership training to youth involved in the juvenile justice system or at risk of system involvement. FLY seeks to give youth a new perspective and understanding of the legal system that previously may have only seemed confusing and punitive to them.

What areas do you service? 
FLY currently provides our programs in three Bay Area counties: Alameda, Santa Clara, and San Mateo. We provide our Law Program at schools, community centers and juvenile detention facilities, and our case managers provide services through our other programs by meeting youth in their own communities. 

What type of services do you provide?
FLY provides legal education/life skills course followed by case management/leadership development for those youth in greatest need of additional support. The Law Program offers 12-weeks of legal education and life skills, teaching our youth about the law and consequences of crime, while inspiring them to change and build their skills to make change possible Our nationally recognized law curriculum, sponsored in part by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s (OJJDP) law-related education research is an interactive and evidence-informed program that uses role-play, debates, and mock trials and city council meetings to capture youth interest by educating them about the law and consequences of crime. The course also inspires youth to change their behavior and fosters pro-social behaviors and skills such as empathy, anger management, non-violent conflict resolution, resisting negative peer pressure, drug refusal skills, problem solving, and positive leadership to make change possible. Examples of course topics include assault, theft, vandalism, hate crimes, drugs, gangs, and the 3-Strikes law.  A sample of our lesson plan topics is provided below.  Mid-way through the program youth take a field trip to a local university where they tour the campus, learn about college, financial aid, and the juvenile justice system, and act out a trial in the university’s moot courtroom.  At the conclusion of the law program, FLY holds a graduation ceremony, where each youth is individually honored and recognized for their contributions to the class.
After completing the 12-week course, youth needing additional support to make lasting change work 1:1 with a case manager/mentor (a FLY staff member) for 1-2 years to prevent recidivism, advance academically, and help them become self-sufficient. Youth also receive leadership training as they work together to learn how to identify and redirect their strengths through community service-learning projects. 

What industries does your program/organization tap into?
 FLY's Law Program intentionally builds empathy for players involved in the juvenile justice system and interest in careers related to the system. Through the Law Program, outside resource people such as police officers, judges, probation officers, attorneys, and other members from the legal/public service industry come to class and co-facilitate the lessons.  

What sets your program/organization apart from others?
FLY is the only local organization that combines legal education with case management in order to meet system-involved youth where they are and give them the tools and skills they need to thrive and become re-engaged in school. All of FLY’s programs are evidence-informed and are based on best practices in youth development. 

What is a success story or data about your program/organization success that you can share?
 FLY’s Programs achieve measurable impact on at-risk youth working to stay free of the criminal justice system. For less than 1/10th the cost of  incarceration, each year, year after year, in all our programs, over 80% of youth report they are inspired to change, now have hope for their futures, have built their skills and confidence to make change possible, and are less likely to break the law. For youth receiving our core program of legal education, case management and leadership training, over 70% are not convicted of an offense during the program, and 60% - 80% of eligible high school seniors graduate or receive their High School Diplomas or GEDs annually. 

How can schools/students get involved with your program/organization?
 Generally, teachers and school administrators refer youth at their school to our Law Program.