Social safety nets touch the lives of people in communities across the country. For more than a decade award-winning Fresh Lifelines for Youth (FLY) has offered a safety net for Silicon Valley's at-risk youth who might otherwise fall through the cracks of the legal system.
Each year in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties, more than 13,000 citations are made resulting in over 6,000 youth being incarcerated. These counties spend $283 a night per incarcerated youth, totaling more than $103,000 a year per youth, which amounts to almost $41 million annually.
Despite these staggering costs, studies on youth released from correctional facilities find that 50 to 80 percent will be back in the sys tem within 1 to 3 years. Caught in a vicious and costly downward cycle, many of these youth end up in prison as adults.
Dedicated to breaking this cycle of violence, FLY sees itself as interrupting the downward trajectory of teens at risk for becoming a statistic when their role models so often include friends and family in jail and/or in gangs.
When FLY began in 2000, it had 1 staff member, 5 volunteers, 25 clients, 2 programs, and a budget of $32,500. Now, 10 years later, FLY has 26 staff members, 100 volunteers, serves over 3,000 clients in 3 program areas, with a budget of 2.2 million dollars.
The nonprofit's programs have drastically lowered recidivism rates and put thousands ...