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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A Message From Our President and Executive Director

COVID-19: How we can help

Posted on: 04/08/2020

WE HELP BECAUSE WE CAN - COVID-19 has hit hard. It is a tough time for all . . . But for those of us with resources we can help those who are lacking resources due to this crisis. KINDNESS truly matters and how we help matters.

Sadly, so many of our families have lost income, families that were already struggling to make ends meet. Everyday our staff is calling families we serve and it is saddening to hear just how hard this crisis has hit these families. So many are out of work, living in less than desirable conditions and just trying to put food on the table. 

At Project Youth OCBF, we have found ways to help.  

Through our generous Project Youth OCBF supporters, we are providing immediate support of Gift Cards for food and essentials to all of our students and families in need, including gift cards to Target, Costco and Northgate Market. We extend a special thank you to Northgate Market who stepped up in a big way through the donation of their gift cards to our families. 

Additionally, twice a month Project Youth OCBF provides Food Care Packages to 20 to 25 families.  These packages include fresh food for a week and $50 to $100 in gift cards. And perhaps most helpful TOILET PAPER. We can offer these food drives because of our long-standing partnership with Hands of Mercy. Currently, our Associate Board is working to expand our food drive efforts by securing additional food and essential items for donation and distribution. This is a great example of helping because we can.

On the educational front, we are providing Wellness Checks, Emotional Support and COVID-19 Education/Resources to our students and their families. We are also linking our families to health, financial and food resources that are available to them.

Our students and families need your help now more than ever.  We cannot provide badly needed resources to our students and their families without your support. Please consider giving to Project Youth OCBF so that we can continue to help and support our students and families during these difficult and challenging times. If you want to help through a donation to Project Youth OCBF, please go to our GIVE link at:

Any way you choose to help will be greatly appreciated. Your donation will make a difference in the lives of our students and their families and help us to continue our mission to Empower Our Youth to Make Positive Choices!

With Gratitude,
Mark Erickson, Project Youth OCBF President 
Karen Ruan, Executive Director

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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




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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