The Youth Action Project was launched in 1998 to create systems and programs that are led by youths.
The organization creates opportunities for youths to develop new skills and habits that help them on the path to economic and social success. The organization works with more than 1,500 young people a year through three major programs.
Young Scholars works with high school students in the San Bernardino City and Rialto unified school districts. Afterschool programs pair college students and recent college graduates with high school students to provide mentorship, academic coaching and enrichment activities. Through the program, students identify their interests and strengths and build a path to future success. College-aged peers, who are often pursuing careers in teaching or social services, gain work experience while inspiring and guiding younger peers.
The project recognizes that a lack of education and experience often hinders young people from pursuing careers and finding a well-paying job. Young Workers provides out-of-school opportunities to gain the skills and experience to enhance access to jobs with sustainable wages. The program provides case management that connects young people with work-readiness training, educational assistance and paid work experience. Alumni have found jobs at nonprofit groups, government agencies, corporations and have also launched their own businesses.
“Our young people are amazing,” Youth Action Project’s co-founder and Executive Director Tremaine Mitchell said. “I am always enamored with the innovation, creativity and dedication that they have. Sometimes my job is just to get out of the way and let them lead me.”
The project considers the overall needs of youths struggling to succeed and works with nonprofit partners to help them face the challenges. In addition to paid work experience, the organization helps with clothing, transportation and resources for housing if they are an obstacle.
For example, when the project discovered that one of its volunteers who had a bachelor’s degree was living in her car with her children, they connected her with resources. A partner nonprofit organization assisted her with housing and hired her. Youth Action Project was able to secure a scholarship for her to continue her education and graduate with her master’s degree. Today, she stays connected with the project and wants to help other youths overcome challenges.
The project’s third major program, Young Leaders Inc., provides hands-on training in community outreach and digital marketing. It is the organization’s issues advocacy and communication firm, supporting civic initiatives. Youths can receive free training in web design, social media, podcasting and other marketing skills.
Recently, the project received a grant from the IE Black Equity Fund through the Inland Empire Community Foundation. While the organization has always focused on direct service, this grant will give the Youth Action Project the foundation to enter the world of advocacy and create change. Mitchell envisions working towards creating a future where students’ needs are met and organizations like the project are not needed.
Youth Action Project depends on donations and grants to offer its services and welcomes donations. There is also a need for professionals interested in being guest speakers, mentors and offering job shadow opportunities. The organization is also always screening for additions to its board of directors.
The project encourages the community to refer young people to its programs. Regardless of their starting point, the organization strives to match youths with a coach or mentor who will guide them to achieve economic sustainability.
“We meet youth wherever they are,” Mitchell said. “Whether it’s a high school student or a college grad, we put them on the path to goal attainment. I’m excited to see what this next generation of leaders is going to accomplish.”
Information: 909-381-1405 or https://youthactionproject.org/
Inland Empire Community Foundation works to strengthen Inland Southern California through philanthropy.