Opening Doors to Higher Education and Career

Opening Doors to Higher Education and Career

In our Higher Education Mentoring Program, we provide low-income Latino high school students with the academic, social, and financial support needed to graduate from high school and succeed in college.

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Inspiring Kids to Be Socially Responsible

Inspiring Kids to Be Socially Responsible

In our SHORTSTOP program, we provide an alternative to incarceration by offering youth offenders the opportunity to attend diversion services.

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Promoting Educated Choices

Promoting Educated Choices

In our Madres Unidas program, we work to reduce the risk of HIV infection among Latina women and their family members.

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Programs and Solutions

Academic and
Career Development

Not only do all of the youth we serve go on to attend college, but 85% of our students proceed straight to four-year universities, while only 21% of Santa Ana students not in our programs qualify for four-year universities.


Recidivism studies show that youth who successfully complete our diversion programs have less than a 7% repeat offense rate within the following year, compared to a rate of over 25% for youth who fail the programs.


Through free HIV testing, counseling, and referral services, 100% of participating Latinas increase their knowledge on their HIV status and 100% of women served show increased knowledge on their perception of their risk for contracting HIV/AIDS and STIs.

What is Project Youth OCBF?

Project Youth OCBF (Orange County Bar Foundation) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to keeping at-risk youth in school, healthy and drug-free through education, counseling, mentoring, and family strengthening. The programs of Project Youth OCBF empower youth and families to make positive choices, building the foundation for a lifetime of opportunity and success.

Project Youth has provided thousands of Orange County juveniles and their families with the necessary skills to deter delinquent activity, set goals, and plan for positive, healthy, and productive lives free of crime. Project Youth services include substance abuse prevention, health education, higher education mentoring, and diversion, in both English and Spanish. Numerous programs are specifically designed and implemented to be gender specific and all programs are culturally appropriate and sensitive for the target population.

Empowering Youth

Project Youth has been a leader in the field of juvenile crime diversion and citizenship education for 50 years, consistently achieving positive results in the community.

Annual Highlights




Recent News

Project Youth OCBF Open House – by Brian Daucher, Esq.

Posted on: 02/19/2020

On February 6, 2020, Project Youth OCBF held an Open House to celebrate the formal opening of our amazing new space. Located at 1605 17th Street, Santa Ana, Project Youth OCBF’s HQ space is bright, safe, and centrally located for our youth population services. HQ serves not only as our administrative headquarters, but also as a gathering point, formal and informal, for all our students and participants in our educational success, diversion and health programs.

At the Open House, we welcomed judges, Board and Associate Board members, Society of Fellows members, and our strong Project Youth OCBF ambassador group. Supervisor Andrew Do presented Project Youth OCBF with formal recognition for 50 years of service to Orange County and its youth population.

Although the formal open house is behind us, Project Youth OCBF’s HQ is always ready to receive visitors on either a drop-in or scheduled basis. Come see what we do. Chances are that whenever you drop by, you will see Project Youth OCBF in action.

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2020 Game Day

Posted on: 01/19/2020

Thank you to all those who attended Project Youth OCBF’s Game Day Fundraiser on January 11, held by our Associate Board under the leadership of 2020 Associate Board President Anthony Modarelli III. A special thanks to Advanced Depositions and Jeff Easton for underwriting the event and hosting Game Day at their fantastic, fun-filled venue. And, of course, we are so appreciative of all our Game Day sponsors. For 49ers fans it was a very exciting day. Tacos and treats were served and free day care was provided, making for an enjoyable time for fans of either team!

Together we were able to raise funds to support Project Youth OCBF’s Higher Education Mentoring Program. On May 12, 28 high school students will be awarded college scholarships and dorm kits to start them on their journey in pursuit of higher education. Proceeds from Game Day will help support these scholarships and college supplies.

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John C. Herklotz (1924-2019)

Posted on: 12/31/2019

JOHN C. HERKLOTZ – HAS BEEN OUR GENEROUS BENEFACTOR for decades. He recently passed, but his generosity and giving legacy lives on. John lived a full life and we were so fortunate to call him a friend.

John’s charitable undertakings were vast and included numerous nonprofits, colleges, hospitals and community efforts as well as his role as financial contributor and Chairman of the Board of Directors of American Happenings. We were so fortunate that for over two decades, John has donated significant support to Project Youth OCBF as our major golf sponsor. The tournament is appropriately named to honor John’s support “Project Youth OCBF John C. Herklotz Golf Classic.” In 2002, he provided a $150,000 challenge grant to our Sam Barnes Campaign to help us ensure the success of our efforts to fund a reserve account to support our education, diversion and health programs. Perhaps closest to John’s heart is the creation of the Dale Melbourne Conference Center, which is named for John’s beloved wife. The Center is located on the University of California at Irvine campus, which is also the home of the Herklotz Research Facility.

Rest in Peace John

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2019 Annual Meeting & Society of Fellows Recognition Reception at First American Corporation

Posted on: 12/25/2019

Thursday, December 12, 2019
Annual Meeting & Society of Fellows Recognition Reception

Master of Ceremonies the Honorable David O. Carter welcomed guests and introduced 2019 Project Youth OCBF President Steve Card. Steve discussed the 2019 launch of our Elevate Educate Empower Comprehensive Campaign--a three-year effort to raise $5 million in new funds and $9 million total with all of our annual funds included. He remarked how fortunate Project Youth OCBF is to have many dedicated volunteers and supporters to help us--most notably our campaign committee chairs, Jim & Linda Skorheim, Patrick & the Honorable Judith Ryan (Ret.), Allan & Cindy Stokke, and Honorary Chairs Ygal & Justice Sheila Prell Sonenshine (Ret.), all tremendously loyal and dedicated couples. 

The event continued with Judge Carter and Steve presenting several awards, beginning with the inaugural Project Youth OCBF Volunteer Excellence Award honoring Ygal & Sheila Sonenshine, who were thanked for their belief in our mission and for their loyal and continual leadership and support. 

Next on the program was the 26th Annual Sammy Award - Project Youth OCBF’s “Sammy” award, which is given each year to a recipient who has contributed to Project Youth in order to assist in best serving the youth and families of Orange County. The “Sammy” is dedicated in loving memory of Robert Samuel Barnes, who was a Project Youth OCBF longtime supporter and friend that contributed greatly to the organization. This year's "Sammy" award recipient, Eric V. Traut, joins a distinguished group of past recipients including: our very first recipient, Robert Samuel Barnes, Don Morrow, Judy Ryan, Ann Andres, John Herklotz, Jane Martin, Ygal and Sheila Sonenshine, Mike Pursell, Bill O’Hare, Michael Maguire, Cindy Stokke, Jim Skorheim, the Santa Ana Police Department, John Hurlbut, Mark Minyard, Carolyn McKitterick, Dennis Ghan, Kyle Kawakami, and last year’s recipient, Bill Grenner. Eric is a longtime supporter and past president of Project Youth, and current member of the Project Youth OCBF Board of Directors. He has diligently supported Project Youth as a volunteer and friend. Each year, he provides a Higher Education Mentoring Program student with a college scholarship, employees a Project SELF intern at his firm, and is always one of, if not the top, fundraiser of Project Youth OCBF’s OC Marathon effort. Eric was presented with the “Sammy” on behalf of Project Youth OCBF, to be congratulated by all on receiving this well-deserved, prestigious honor. 

The final award recipient to be recognized, Maria Solis Martinez, was presented with the Outstanding Community Leadership Award. Maria has been a long-term supporter or the Higher Education Mentoring Program. She began by providing a college dorm kit to one of our graduates back in 2002. Each year she provides up to three college scholarships to Santa Ana high school students in our Higher Education Mentoring Program who have the desire to pursue higher education. We are extremely grateful Maria has chosen our Higher Education Mentoring Program to provide her generous college scholarships and we were very excited to honor her. 

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2019 Project Youth OCBF Society of Fellow Awards

Posted on: 12/25/2019

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Two Society of Fellow awards were presented at this year's Annual Meeting & Society of Fellows Recognition Reception for 2019: the 12th Annual Society of Fellows Distinguished Fellow Award – awarded to attorney Arthur Kidman and the 11th Annual Society of Fellows Distinguished Judicial Fellow Award – awarded to the Honorable Nancy Weiben Stock (Ret.). Both were recognized as outstanding Fellow members and long-term supporters of Project Youth OCBF.

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144 Golfers Participated in 18 Holes of Scramble Golf Raising Funds and Awareness for Project Youth OCBF

Posted on: 10/27/2019

Smiles were endless as we raised over $96,000 for Project Youth OCBF at our 23rd Annual John C. Herklotz SHORTSTOP Golf Classic. Without the support and dedication from the players, sponsors and volunteers, this wouldn’t have been possible. Thank you all!

Tournament participants enjoyed a variety of competitions in addition to 18 holes of golf. Activities included a “Hot Shot Cannon”, where participants attempted to launch their golf ball down to the green. Cleveland Golf provided a professional golfer for the day – for a donation, players allowed the pro to hit a tee shot so they could get closer to the hole.

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MMA flyweight fighter Laura Gallardo donates to Project Youth

Posted on: 08/25/2019

August 22, 2019

Laura Gallardo, MMA flyweight fighter wins the women's 125lb OC Fight Club title and donates proceeds to Project Youth OCBF.

Laura Gallardo formerly Laura Anderson, was born in Irapuato, Mexico. She holds a degree in psychology from Simon Fraser University in Canada and is working on her masters in functional nutrition. 

She is a two time All American collegiate wrestler and made Mexico's national team. She made the USA grappling team where she won a gold medal at the world championships in Budapest Hungry. She is currently 8-0 as a mixed martial artist and the MMA flyweight champion.

On August 7, Laura presented to youth and families in Project Youth OCBF programs. Laura shared her life experiences and talked about how she has achieved her current success. She motivated youth to work hard and set goals. The youth and parents all enjoyed taking photos with Laura.

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Project SELF 2019

Posted on: 08/25/2019

Project SELF 2019 provided 63 Santa Ana high school students with paid internships.  Our goal for the program was not just give students a summer job, but to use the eight weeks to give them an experience that will expose them to career paths they never knew about and most importantly, inspire them to pursue a college education.  We wanted to expose them to things that they have never seen before, and help them shape their goals, and give them a path to their dreams.  

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Rooftop Brewfest - Friday, June 28, 2019

Posted on: 08/17/2019

Thank you for coming out to the 7th Annual Rooftop Brewfest Fundraiser. The weather was fantastic, the beer & sliders were delicious and we all had a great time!

We wish to thank our sponsors for all their support, and our Associate Board for all their hard work and hours devoted to helping make your experience more enjoyable. Finally, we wish to thank you, our Brewfest attendees! There would be no Brewfest without you!

View photos and additional details

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Elevate Educate Empower Comprehensive Campaign

Posted on: 07/20/2019

July 2019
Project Youth OCBF launches Elevate Educate Empower Comprehensive Campaign to raise $9 million to support their youth programs.  For 50 years, Project Youth OCBF has made a significant and meaningful impact in the lives of at-risk youth and families. The thousands of clients we’ve served represent an incalculable benefit to both local families and the broader community. Our work is essential today and will remain essential far in to the future. Read more on our campaign.

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Successful Local After-School Mentoring Program for Latino Youth Reveals Success with Promoting Higher Education Opportunities

Posted on: 07/20/2019

"The Higher Education Mentoring Program allowed me to expand not only my knowledge as a student but also as an individual in order to help me pursue my goal of achieving higher education. Thanks to the Higher Education Mentoring Program I can say that I am more prepared to not only get into college but, be successful while there." Monica, Higher Education Mentoring Program 2019 Graduate.

Project Youth OCBF’s Higher Education Mentoring Program, an after school college readiness program, that supports and encourages educational opportunities for young Latinos, celebrated with its Class of 2019. The 6-year program successfully provided the academic, social, and financial support needed for students to graduate from high school and successfully apply to institutions of higher education. The initial 18-month phase has been completed, yet the students will remain in contact with staff and be tracked for the next 4 years or until the reach the goal of a Bachelor’s degree. This year, the agency gave over $30,000.00 in scholarships to twenty-seven senior Higher Education Mentoring Program participants that are pursuing higher education.  “We are extremely proud of the achievements of the Higher Education Mentoring Program and its participants. The Class of 2019 has 27 amazing young men and women who we are very proud of.  Project Youth OCBF board of directors, committee members, mentors and staff, as well as the student’s families, provided strong support and the guidance needed, for these students to enter college, but it was the students who excelled to achieve the end results,” stated Martha Madrid, Associate Director.  Project Youth OCBF has given over a million dollars in 4-year renewable scholarships to Santa Ana students since 2008.

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A Beloved Friend and Leader in the Legal Community, the Honorable Steven L. Perk (Ret.)

Posted on: 01/17/2019

Dear Society of Fellows Members:

It is with a heavy heart that I write to inform you of the passing of the Honorable Steven L. Perk (Ret.).  Judge Perk was the 2016 recipient of the PYOCBF Society of Fellows Distinguished Judicial Fellow Award, and has left an indelible mark on the Orange County legal landscape.

A former quarterback at the University of South Dakota and college football coach, Judge Perk graduated from Pepperdine School of Law in 1980 and worked as a law clerk for Judge Ronald Kreber’s former firm.  He served as a Deputy District Attorney in the Orange County District Attorney’s Office for almost 9 years, after which he worked in private practice with his good friend, Cliff Roberts.  He returned to the OCDA’s Office for another short stint when in 1995, Gov. Pete Wilson appointed him to the bench.  In 2002, Judge Perk was assigned to the General Civil Panel and in 2011, only 9 years later, was appointed Supervising Judge of the General Civil Panel.  As Supervising Judge, he simultaneously tackled both a pending financial crisis and an unprecedented backlog of over 2,000 unassigned cases which, under Judge Perk’s leadership, was whittled down to 500 cases in just 2 years.  During the court-closure crisis, Judge Perk co-founded the Voluntary Settlement Conference Program (which moved cases to resolution on “dark” days) and adopted policies ensuring litigants answering “ready” for trial would be able to find a courtroom. 

Judge Perk served as a judge on the Complex Civil Panel where he stepped down for health reasons in December 2016.  At the time of his death, Judge Perk served as a neutral at Judicate West.  Throughout his career as a jurist, Judge Perk earned a reputation as a no-nonsense trial judge who valued promptness, preparedness and professionalism.  Whether hearing high-profile matters like the 4-month Lloyd Charton trial or the pleas of a pro se litigant, he allowed parties to make their case, delivered clear and fair decisions, and treated all with respect and civility.  He was a fine judge and an exceptional human being who never lost his love for family, friends and sports.  For lawyers and non-lawyers alike, Judge Perk will stand as one of Orange County’s finest models of integrity, hard work, honesty and fairness.  He leaves behind a loving family and a legal community that deeply mourns his passing.


Daniel S. Robinson
PYOCBF Past President and Society of Fellows Chair
Robinson Calcagnie, Inc. 

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We've Moved!


1605 E. 17th St., Santa Ana

Become a Supporter

Project Youth is pleased to recognize our current supporters. We are grateful to the many individuals, law firms, foundations and businesses that have chosen to support Project Youth during the past several years:

The Allergan Foundation • Angels Baseball Foundation • Annenberg Foundation • Aon
Arbonne Foundation • The California Endowment • Carmax • College Futures Foundation
College Futures Foundation • Draper Family Foundation • George T. Pfleger Foundation
Green Foundation • John C. Herklotz • Hitachi Automotive Systems Americas, Inc.
Hoag Community Benefits Program • Jackson DeMarco Tidus Peckenpaugh Kickstart Program
Jeffrey M. Carlton Foundation • Lon V. Smith Foundation • Marisla Fund
Orange County Bar Association (Charitable Fund) • Orange County Chapter Association of Legal Administrators
Orange County Community Foundation • Orange County Coalition for Diversity in the Law
Orange County Marathon • Orange County United Way • Orange County Women Lawyers Association
Pacific Life Foundation • Robert Banyard Inn of Court • State Farm Companies Foundation
State Street Foundation • Taco Bell • TK Foundation •
Ueberroth Family Foundation • Union Bank • U.S. Bank • Wells Fargo

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