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Flintridge Center’s YOP Provides Diversion and Development Services for Systems-Impacted Youth


Halfway through the grant period, we’re thrilled to report that LA2050 Grants Challenge and Hilton Foundation support has enabled Flintridge Center to double-down on delivering employment support and opportunities to young people.

Youth of Promise:

Flintridge Center’s Youth of Promise (YOP) program is a year-round program that provides comprehensive diversion and development services for low-income, systems-impacted youth ages 12-18. Youth participate in individualized case management services and a curriculum of enrichment activities.

The YOP Opportunities initiative is designed for our youth ages 15-18. The curriculum focuses on educational planning, leadership development, career guidance, and employment pathways. We employ an after-school curriculum that covers job search techniques, resume writing, interviews, and financial literacy. We developed this program in response to existing gaps in youth future planning and employment development in the community served.

Within this curriculum, participants have the opportunity to work as interns supporting younger youth in the program. All youth are supported in creating an employment plan in addition to participating in leadership opportunities, community events, and workshops. Youth are supported on an individual basis to outline their educational goals and explore their career interests.

Opportunities In Action:

Over the grant period so far, participants in the YOP Opportunities program have met weekly with a case manager to develop their individual employment plans. The group also honed their event planning and leadership skills as they planned three community events for YOP families and younger youth in the program. They planned a Back to School BBQ, a Día de los Muertos event, and an end of year Holiday Party. As part of a larger curriculum of employment development and self-discovery, these events support the development of crucial skills. For example, based on an identified interest, one youth in the program photographed the event.

In the fall, YOP Opportunities youth volunteered weekly at the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank and took trips to clean the beach with Heal the Bay. Beyond fostering a strong sense of community, regular volunteering contributes to graduation requirements and is a strong addition to youths’ resumes.

Since October 2023, YOP has been able to expand the programs’ youth employment and leadership development activities. Youth have attended partner events through the LA Clippers Mentorship Assist Zone about off-the-court career opportunities and a panel titled “Black Men in White Coats” about opportunities in the medical field.

Two YOP Opportunities youth have been sponsored into barista internships and employment through Coffee with a Cause. One of these young people, who is now attending Pasadena City College while working at Starbucks, shared: “I feel that without YOP I may have not have developed as fully as I have currently, they have provided me with a lot of experiences that I don’t think I’d have been able to get on my own and have continued to be a place I feel I can rely on not only now but far in the future.”

One challenging area that program staff consistently prioritize is retaining high school youth in the program. As part of YOP’s trauma-informed approach, we understand that youth are navigating a complex reality and YOP works to be a positive outlet in this reality, while recognizing that program participation will be unique for every participant. YOP youth above age 16 experience complex stressors that complicate program activity: caretaking responsibilities for younger siblings, pressure to get a part-time job to earn money, and general social pressures. YOP recognizes the complexity of these barriers and works with each participant to address their unique experience, develop attainable goals and provide programming in multiple accessible formats. The YOP Opportunities program specifically employs high school youth as interns with the program to earn money while supporting YOP’s younger participants.

Looking Forward:

Outcomes that we plan to measure include: number of youth who obtain an internship or other part time employment; increases in knowledge and confidence related to job-seeking; number of youth who enter post-high school training programs; youth who enter a 2-year or 4-year college. Success will be defined by a youth's completion of their Individual Employment Plan that reflects their personal career and education goals.

As we prepare for summer, we are looking forward to continuing our YOP Opportunities internship program. Overall, the YOP Opportunities program is meeting youth where they are at, investing in opportunities, and building upon youths’ interests – effectively building bridges to economic advancement.

AuthorFlintridge Center