Most people associate today’s youth with text messaging, Facebook, and high school dramas. Unfortunately, not all teens have it this easy. Each year, more and more children and young adults are subject to different challenges that no one, let alone a young person, should have to endure. Whether they’re sent to juvenile hall, homeless, or coming from an abusive home, at-risk children and adolescents are in desperate need of support, love, and a second chance.
In the SF Bay Area, there are a number of non-profit organizations graciously giving their support to at-risk children and teens who need it most. These are NerdWallet’s top 4 Bay Area non-profit organizations dedicated to helping at-risk youth get a second chance at a better life.
Legal Services for Children: Provides free legal services to children and youth
Any issue taken up in court is usually very complicated, emotionally draining, and very, very expensive. Legal Services for Children is one of the first non profit law firms based in the U.S. to offer free legal representation and social work services to children and youth. They represent people under 18 years old, and help with a number of issues including voluntarily entering foster care, legal guardianship, school cases, emancipation, and immigration. Pioneered by a team of attorneys, LSC provides young people with a chance to have their voices heard, and to take an active role in building better and brighter futures.
Each One Reach One: Assists youth in the transition out of prison
One can only imagine how difficult it is to transition out of prison and regain a sense of normalcy, let alone while dealing with the issues that face all adolescents every day. Each One Reach One provides support specifically for at-risk youth hoping to make a smooth transition out of prison and back into their community. It is a one on one mentoring-based program that gives youth the chance to learn from their mistakes and restore their confidence. They utilize the A Dream and A Plan for Tomorrow (ADAPT) model, which works to bridge the gap in education and literacy among at-risk youth entering the Juvenile Justice System. EORO emphasizes fostering positive and permanent change because everyone deserves a second chance.
Covenant House California: Reaches out to homeless at-risk youth
Sadly, many young people are left homeless for a number of reasons, including leaving home due to abuse or negligence, or “aging out” of the foster care system. Covenant House California was founded to reach out to homeless youth living on the streets and give them a chance to start a new life. They provide more than just a place to stay for the night – in addition to providing food and shelter, their programs also include counseling, medical care, educational resources, and career training. CHC serves at-risk youth between the ages of 18 and 21 with an emphasis on “immediacy, absolute respect and unconditional love.”
City Youth Now: Cares for youth under the jurisdiction of the SF Juvenile Court
A child placed under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court system isn’t necessarily a bad egg – City Youth Now knows that youth who have found themselves in the juvenile system are not lost causes. This organization was originally founded in 1950 and has continued to provide young people in the juvenile court system with the same positive development opportunities as others their age. They provide educational funding, stipends and job training skills, visual art programs, and even holiday gifts. Their goal is to integrate a sense of normalcy into the lives of at-risk youth, assisting in the transition into their communities and, eventually, adulthood.