What makes Project Youth so special is the holistic approach taken by our diversely talented staff to developing the youth we serve. Our strategic plan recognizes the complexity of growing up in today’s world, particularly when faced with drugs, crime, violence and/or limited financial and educational resources, as is the case for many of the youth we serve. Project Youth, located in Santa Ana, serves as a one-stop center for integrated prevention and intervention services that offer juvenile crime diversion, educational mentoring, health education, substance abuse treatment, and mental health services.
During my 15 plus years of service on the Board of Directors, I have seen Project Youth expand its programs, while always staying true to its mission. With each new program (e.g., Project Self, Higher Education Mentoring Program), our youth step up and amaze us with their accomplishments – defeating the odds, embracing the challenges of being first generation college students and embarking on new career paths.
But there is more to be done. Which is why we must….
Elevate Educate Empower – The words of our Comprehensive Campaign, our largest fundraising effort ever. We have raised $1.4 million of our $5 million goal. Now, more than ever, our kids need Project Youth. This is why my primary goal as President is to make significant progress towards achieving our fundraising goals. We must do this to ensure that Project Youth has the resources necessary to continue to thrive, grow and diversify to meet the ever increasing and complex needs of the youth we serve.
Achieving our campaign goals will facilitate the other major goal for my presidency — to fully implement and expand our newest program ICAN! (Independence, Competence, and Aptitudes, Now!). Launched in 2021, ICAN! helps at-risk, transition-age youth (ages 16-21) identify their vocational interests and complete career training at a designated trade school, technical institute or community college vocational program. ICAN! was developed in recognition of the reality that vocational training can lead to an extremely fulfilling, self-sufficient and financially stable future for today’s youth.
Your investment in Project Youth is an investment in a brighter future for all of us. Let’s Do This!
Maria Z. Stearns