St. Stephen’s Youth Programs promotes equity in education, employment and opportunity through long-term relationships with young people and their families and communities.
Our out-of-school time programs keep young people safe and healthy within a supportive community and strengthen critical thinking through academics and enrichment.
Our teen and alumni programs provide teens and young adults with the tools they need to achieve their own academic and career goals.
Our community organizing and engagement programs equip young people and their families to build power and make material changes to their communities.
The mission of St. Stephen’s Youth Programs is to promote equity in education, employment and opportunity through long-term relationships with youth and their families and communities.
Our goal is to provide each young person with a comprehensive Circle of Care that supports them on the road to successful adulthood, fosters their personal and civic engagement, and equips them with the skills they need to be agents of change. In addition to meeting the day-to-day needs of our students, we organize for safer and healthier neighborhoods and schools.
We enroll young people without regard to their religious affiliation. Most of our students are Latino/a and African American (please read our program evaluation report for full demographic information about our student population). Many are part of new immigrant households where English is spoken as a second language. The vast majority of our students live in public housing, at or below the national poverty level. All of our students are impacted by the stress of living in poverty and being surrounded by violence.
St. Stephen’s Youth Programs (SSYP) began in 1999 as a church’s effort to provide neighborhood elementary students with a safe place to go when school is not in session. Today, our successful, cost effective, out-of-school time programming serves 850 young people in grades K-12+.
Our programs have a 18-year track record of success. We are particularly effective in helping young people at greatest risk of dropping out of school to persevere and graduate. For the last two years, 98% of our seniors graduated from high school and the vast majority did so with a well-formulated plan for their post-graduation year.
To provide our young people and their families with the emotional support they need, we partner with local schools of social work to embed a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and social work interns in our program.
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Employing teens as tutors and mentors keeps them in supportive relationships with us after elementary school. They are required to participate in academic nights, college and career mentoring and job training. More importantly, employment provides every teen, even those who have been in trouble with the courts, with the life-transforming experience of being a positive role model.