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NerdWallet’s Top Innovative Non-Profits for At-Risk Youth

July 18, 2012
Personal Finance
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Youth education is crucial for the success of future generations, so we here at NerdWallet recognize non-profits that are using innovative ways to reach out to underprivileged youth across America. These non-profit agencies are inspiring at-risk youth to recognize their potential and achieve their dreams. These organizations reach out to homeless youth, improve literacy, foster creative expression and help all children reach their full potential. Income level should discourage no one when it comes to education and child development. Us nerds place the highest value on education and fully support these organizations for making a change in the lives of underprivileged youth.

Mentoring Today: For guiding youth in the juvenile justice system

Based in Washington, D.C. Mentoring Today provides personal support for youth both before and after they are released from incarceration, assisting at-risk youth during this critical stage in life. The services provided by Mentoring Today teach young adults the necessary life skills to reintegrate back into their families and communities. Mentors at Mentoring Today tackle pertinent issues such as education, employment, and housing in order to educate at-risk youth and guide them towards a brighter future. The ultimate goal of Mentoring Today is to reduce the rate at which mentees return to delinquency. This can be achieved by increasing education and employment levels as well as teaching the young adults valuable lessons pertaining to leadership and life lessons. The staff at Mentoring Today envisions a community where all children recognize and strive to reach their potential to be future leaders.


The Learning Alliance: For promoting a better future through literacy

Founded by concerned parents, the Learning Alliance attempts to improve reading comprehension and literacy in Indian River County, Florida. Given that 24% of third graders and 43% of eighth graders in Indian River don’t pass the reading portion of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, the Learning Alliance’s mission is clear. Scientific research has unveiled novel information on the brain and its cognitive learning process, suggesting alternative techniques to teaching methods. Partnering with literacy experts, the Learning Alliance hopes to deliver better teaching strategies to public schools. Introducing innovative and effective teaching strategies in the Florida public school system will increase literacy rates for all Indian River County children. This teaching transformation is crucial to improving reading levels among students, preparing them for future education and opening new opportunities later in life.


At the Crossroads: For an innovative approach to youth homelessness

At the Crossroads targets homeless youth in NerdWallet’s hometown of San Francisco, specifically in the historically underserved Mission, Downtown and Tenderloin neighborhoods. Staff members seek out homeless youth on the streets and offer them caring, unconditional support. The clients of At the Crossroads are homeless or transient youth who are disconnected from any type of consistent support. A unique characteristic of At the Crossroads is their outreach. They walk the streets at night and seek out homeless youth, breaking down one of the biggest barriers to kids receiving help. They also provide personal counseling in order to ensure a healthy recovery for their clients. Through nighttime outreach and one-on-one counseling, underserved youth are able to recuperate from life on the streets and find opportunities to live an outstanding life. This innovative approach allows homeless youth to escape a realm of poverty and a life of subsistence and achieve healthy, fulfilling lives.


Roaddawgz: For fostering creativity in homeless youth

Roaddawgz provides young people living on the street the opportunity to express themselves through stories, art, poetry and more. Not only does the site showcase creative art, but it also fosters the development of communication skills among homeless youth and their peers. Roaddawgz gives those on the margins of society a voice and a strengthened sense of acceptance in the community. Homeless youth can take workshops and training classes with Roaddawgz in the Tenderloin district of NerdWallet’s own San Francisco. Here they can develop multi-media skills, use computers and resources for work, and attend workshops in topics such as journalism, web design, photography, and theater. They also offer editorial counseling and a drop-in center for young writers and artists. NerdWallet acknowledges Roaddawgz for providing hands-on educational services for those aspiring to explore the world of liberal arts but have limited access to the necessary resources.


Middle Earth: For educating tomorrow’s nerds

One of the most important factors to kids’ success in school is their time spent out of school. Children that face difficult situations at home often have a hard time staying on track with their education. This is where Middle Earth comes in. Based in New Jersey and serving the communities of Bound Brook, Somerville, and Somerset, this committed organization works with middle and high school aged students to provide them with programs that help create marketable skills, improve academic focus, and to connect with other support organizations to keep these young nerds on track. Their 21st Century Learning Center, for example, is an after-school program that helps middle school children improve their academic standing and learn in safe environments that benefit social growth. The Linages’ School-Based Program offers year-round education and employment services at the Somerset County Vocational and Technical High School. These are just a couple of the education and recreation resources that Middle Earth provides. We support their work in keeping young nerds off the streets and in the schools.


Avance: For supporting kids and inspiring parents

Avance provides early education and family support for Hispanic communities in low-income and at-risk communities. In operation for almost 40 years, the staple of Avance is their “Parent-Child Education Program” which educates parents on being advocates for their children and provides education services for children up to 3 years of age. The free, 9-month programs educate both parent and child for mutual success. Parents have access to GED programs and ESL classes, while children receive brain stimulating educational activities that support health cognition. Avance wants parents to have the tools to support their growth and the healthy intellectual growth of their children. NerdWallet loves the fact that Avance tackles educational issues on a multigenerational front.