DA Gascón Expands Partnership with YMCA to Provide Safe Summer Options for Youths

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 27, 2011

CONTACT: Erica Terry Derryck, DA Gascón’s Office, (415) 553-1167
ADA Seth Steward, DA Gascón’s Office, (415) 553-1014

DA GASCÓN EXPANDS PARTNERSHIP WITH YMCA TO PROVIDE SAFE SUMMER OPTIONS FOR YOUTHS
Broadened Efforts Focus on Providing Summer Job & Educational Opportunity

SAN FRANCISCO – District Attorney George Gascón announced today that a group of San Francisco youths will be selected for paid summer internships in the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office this summer.

The announcement was made at the Bayview Hunters Point YMCA, where for the past two years the District Attorney’s Office has been helping to fund the YMCA-run CARE program. This credit reclamation program assists high school students through an intensive academic program that allows students to recover school credits lost as a result of truancy or dropping out. Participants are then able to successfully transition back into an academic setting where they can earn a high school diploma. Since its inception, over $235,000 in federal Department of Education grant money secured by the District Attorney’s Office has been directed toward the program which has served more than 150 participants.

For the first time this summer, young people participating in the CARE program will have the opportunity to gain valuable paid, work experience by participating in the District Attorney’s Office’s Changing the Odds internship program for at-risk youths. This key expansion of the partnership between the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office and the YMCA is a central element of District Attorney Gascón’s efforts to shore up public safety by providing educational and job opportunities for San Francisco youths that put them on the path to productivity.

“I was a high school dropout,” said District Attorney George Gascón. “I know first-hand how much it matters to invest in our youth. Giving young people an opportunity to gain valuable work experience through a paid summer internship expands their horizons and puts them on the path to productivity which raises everyone’s boat.”

Drawing from his decades of experience in law enforcement and his own personal story of going from dropping out of high school to earning a law degree, District Attorney Gascón has spearheaded the expansion of the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office’s Changing the Odds internship program by matching young people from the District Attorney-funded YMCA CARE program.

The Changing the Odds internship program was started in 2006 as a District Attorney-led initiative to give youth coming out of the juvenile justice system meaningful opportunities to stay out of the justice system permanently. The Changing the Odds internship program has historically placed youths exiting the juvenile justice system in a rigorous three-month paid internship during the summer months. Young participants get intensive skills training and mentorship to prepare them for successful re-entry into their communities. Under District Attorney Gascón’s leadership, this year the Changing the Odds internship program is partnering with the CARE program to focus the internship on formerly truant high school students.

Over $25,000 in funding has been dedicated to the administration and funding of the 10 paid summer internship positions being offered. After submission of an application, young people will be selected by YMCA and District Attorney’s Office staff to participate in the four-week summer internships in the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office where they will acquire job readiness skills and learn about the criminal justice system and volunteerism. Individuals attending the Five Keys Charter School, where many former CARE students matriculate after completion of the credit reclamation program, are also eligible to apply. The Changing the Odds internship program is administered by District Attorney’s Office staff members who work in close coordination with members of the YMCA’s team.

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