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Education / 2013

Young Warriors

Young Warriors

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by Young Warriors

A significant majority of boys in absent father homes are hurting so deeply that they become unproductive and destructive members of society. Young Warriors believes that all boys need affirmation, guidance, training, and support from positive male role-models. The physical, emotional, and social needs of boys and their mothers in absent-father homes is the central focus of the programs provided by Young Warriors. Young Warriors is life education, things one should learn from a father. YW participants learn life skills such as changing a tire, how to treat women respectfully, trusting others, dealing with finances, pursuing a college education, work-readiness skills, anger management, conflict resolution, team-building skills, nutrition and health management, and much, much more--- all while having FUN! YW is somewhere to turn for advice and answers that many children from fatherless homes do not have.

What are some of your organization’s most important achievements to date?

YW started with a relationship between Jason Hill and one 10-year-old boy named Wonder. Along with other mentors, Jason was able to give Wonder the mentoring relationship that Jason had received from caring mentors who changed Jason’s life. Wonder is now on a healthy path and thriving. In fact, Wonder received an award for Male Athlete of the Year at his school. Wonder is responsible for the birth of Young Warriors. During Wonder’s success, Jason decided to give other boys broader horizons. YW started with a small group of boys, their single moms, and a circle of friends. The program was extremely successful, and quickly grew to over 20 boys, with moms calling from as far as two hours away, asking to come Young Warrior events. YW participants are committed; they enjoy being in the program and attendance rates are over 96%. Adults in these children’s lives have noticed almost an immediate change in the boy’s attitudes and behaviors. In addition, grades are showing improvement. YW has expanded its program throughout the community. YW community members (such as Galpin Ford, Nestle, Wells Fargo, the city of Van Nuys, and many private investors) are excited to participate in the program. YW now has two programs: (1) the original YW group, and (2) two elementary schools consisting of 24 fatherless 5th grade boys. Other principals heard of YW and are expressing a strong interest in hosting the YW program at their schools. In addition, Jason has peaked the interest of various gang-prevention units. The waiting list for YW is growing with 100’s of kids waiting for the program to become available to them!

Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.

Galpin Ford, LAUSD, Frederick S. Upton Foundation, Mentor Management Systems, Nestle, Mil Milagros, various Marriage & Family Therapists, Adrienne Newsome, non-profit counsel and many community volunteers and businesses.

Please explain how you will evaluate your project. How will you measure success?

  1. YW uses standard psychological tests to measure self-esteem, self-efficacy, and negative risk-taking behavior.
  2. Qualitative and quantitative data will be collected from the participants, parents, mentors, YW staff, mentors, community volunteers, advisory, and board members via attendance records, grades, assessments, participation at all events and meetings, observations, and comments.
  3. Before, during, termination, and post-termination program assessments and evaluations will be conducted.
  4. Teacher, school officials, and other professional recommendations and input are considered.
  5. Recommendations, assessments, and evaluations will be reviewed by the program director, family therapist, and YW Advisory Board as necessary.
  6. Live-scan screening and “best practices” training methods insure that participants have well qualified mentors.

How will your project benefit Los Angeles?

Based on statistics from the California Family Council, children from fatherless homes are more likely to: commit suicide, be poor, drop out of school, have maladaptive behavior, be abused, abuse drugs and alcohol, run away, join gangs, wind up in state institutions or on state welfare, or be killed. Young Warrior changes these boys future for the betterment of themselves and society.

  1. The first objective of YW is to increase self-esteem and self-efficacy in boys whose identity is lost and who are at risk of becoming another troubling statistic. YW mentors inspire boys discover their own strengths, take on new challenges, and face their failures as well as their victories. In these critical life lessons, YW mentors develop trust with participants so that the participants are able to hear good advice, and therefore, become good decision makers.

  2. The second objective of YW is to encourage and develop positive interpersonal communication amongst participants, mentors, peers, parents, guardians, teachers, and authorities. YW mentors promote diversity and respect for others by modeling self-discipline, integrity, honesty, compassion, forgiveness, ethical and moral behavior. YW starts cultivating these skills in the home by collaborating with a local Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) in creating a parent education program. This curriculum assists parents become more effective in the lives of their boys.

  3. Finally, YW third objective is to prevent negative, risk-taking behavior, including gang prevention. YW reduces the need to find security in gangs, substance abuse, or the like by instilling worth and confidence in participant’s abilities. YW participants learn anger management, conflict resolution, and how to engage themselves in healthy, positive affiliations with others.

What would success look like in the year 2050 regarding your indicator?

Success would look like having an after school program in every LAUSD school or independent school systems. Success will be Young Warriors of the next generation being mentored by alumni. Success will be Young Warriors being the capable and upstanding leaders and fathers of tomorrow. Success would be social connectedness of family. Most importantly to these boys, true success would be the presence of a father of character back in the lives of the family. Dads, we need you!