Our Piece of the Pie (OPP) works with youth ages 14-24 who face the adverse effects of living in poverty and being exposed to crime and violence in their neighborhoods. Its programs and services help these youth overcome systemic barriers, guiding them through high school towards higher education and meaningful employment. Their belief is that every young person needs a caring, consistent adult in their lives, so it matches every youth with a youth development specialist who becomes a trusted adult mentor, cheerleader and coach, working with them to develop an individual success plan. This grant supports OPP as it works to incorporate in-house mental health services to its existing programs and offerings to better support youth. The aim is to develop a culturally responsive, trauma-informed, youth-centered and strengths-based model anchored in the values of empowerment, empathy, support, equity and trust.
Advocacy: Opening Opportunities for Justice-Involved Youth
To support advocacy efforts with public policymakers and private partners to advance education and employment opportunities for high risk youth ages 14 to 24, many of whom have been out of or are failing in school or involved in community violence or the justice system. OPP is developing a field guide and curriculum for serving justice-involved youth that it will share with other service providers. The agency serves 1,600 youths annually through its three high schools for over-age and under-credited students and its nationally recognized Pathways to Success program designed to help young people achieve their education, employment and life goals.
OPP in Communities
To provide academic, job-readiness and other support services for high risk youth ages 14 to 24, many of whom have been out of school or involved in community violence or juvenile justice. Youth development specialists help young people create an individualized plan to achieve their goals to complete high school, go on to college or trade school, graduate from a two- or four-year college, receive a vocational certification and/or secure and retain a job. Youth also participate in OPP’s businesses, which include boat-building, graphic design, fine arts, and technology.