From the San Diego Business Journal
Angela’s son Robert was born when she was 16 years old. At first, Angela, now 18, lived with Robert’s father.
Then he went to jail, and she turned to YES (Youth Empowerment Services) for Haven, a program for pregnant and parenting teens who don’t have a family for support. Without the YES program, Angela and Robert would be part of the most vulnerable population in our community at high risk of becoming homeless, living in poverty and more than likely abused or exploited.
Angela’s story is typical of the 20 young women currently in YES for Haven. Born in Mexico, Angela moved with her family to Escondido when she was 4. Sometimes she lived with her mother and father, and other times with her aunt. At the end of ninth grade, she got involved with drugs and dropped out of school. A year later, she was pregnant and moved in with her boyfriend.
“I don’t know what I would have done without this program,” Angela said. “This program has taught me how to parent, live on my own, manage my time, save money, and live with my peers.”
Petite, with long black hair, wearing a simple white camisole, jeans and white sneakers, Angela speaks articulately about her past and her future. It’s hard to believe that she has a 2-year-old son and a terrifying past.
YES for Haven, started in July 2004, is operated by a collaborative, including:
- The Salvation Army, which houses the program on its Door of Hope campus.
- Access, Inc., a community-based organization that provides job training, education and job placement services, as well as immigration assistance to low-income residents for more than 36 years.
- Casey Family Programs, a national organization that provides an array of services for children and youth, with foster care as its core. CFP funds research and dissemination of exemplary transition practices for foster care youth.
The concept is to provide, in one location, a wide range of services, including intensive employment readiness services and independent living skills, so that these women can get jobs and become good mothers and productive citizens. So far, 26 young women have participated in the program.
YES for Haven is one of several nonprofits funded by San Diego Social Venture Partners, a membership organization of 75 business and community leaders. Members of the group contribute their time, talent and resources to build the capacity and sustainability of not for profits in San Diego. SVP granted YES for Haven a $90,000 grant payable over three years if the program continues to meet measured outcomes and milestones.
In addition, SVP provided goods and services valued at between three to six times the cash donation. The group developed job tours, job shadowing opportunities in health care, technology and hospitality for the girls and established the Success Lab at YES for Haven complete with five Gateway computers. SVP partners have also volunteered their business expertise and guidance in developing a three-year strategic plan.
Since Angela has been involved with YES for Haven, she is looking forward to her high school graduation in December. After she graduates, she will leave YES for Haven, and has applied to three transitional living programs in San Diego County.