Side by Side’s YouThrive program offers early intervention services that equip young people with the strategies that build resilience and coping skills to stay on a positive path through school and thrive in adulthood.
Middle & High School Services
Embedded in middle and high schools in Sonoma and Marin counties, YouThrive’s successful early intervention program consists of 10-week sessions (fall and spring) for students who have been referred by school administration, law enforcement or parents because of additional needed social-emotional support, truancy, failing grades, seriously challenging behavior, gang activity, or drug and alcohol use. The program includes:
- Weekly group meetings in the school setting (held virtually during the pandemic)
- Workshops addressing anger management, communication, life skills, gang prevention, and restorative justice as well as higher education
- Daylong excursions and wilderness adventure trips to incentivize positive behavior, introduce therapeutic nature experiences,and provide opportunities to practice skills learned in workshops
- Mentoring and case management support
- Regular monitoring of grades, school attendance, and disciplinary actions
- Bilingual parent outreach and support groups
- Referrals to Side by Side’s Community Counseling program for individual therapy sessions when appropriate
The benchmarks for success include improved grades, school attendance, and behavior, as well as healthy relationships among peers and adults in the school and at home.
In 2020, YouThrive started Raíces Unidas, a focused bilingual adaptation of the traditional workshop model described above that is tailored to the new immigrant Latinx student experience and challenges and includes robust parent engagement. Outside of the group sessions, YouThrive also partners with the schools’ health education classes to provide general support and outreach to reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues, discuss topics such as self-care, anger awareness, and coping skills, and provide resources for youth who need mental health services.
In addition to its work in middle and high schools, YouThrive also offers Call to Courage workshops to local colleges, including College of Marin. Call to Courage is intended for students of color to gain a deeper understanding of how race, class, and health may show up and affect one’s own life, community, and educational experiences.
Students have structured opportunities to reflect within themselves and as a group, then go back to their families and the greater community with a deeper understanding of how they wish to engage. The goal for the workshops is for students to gain more self-awareness about their identity and their cultural beliefs, an increase in compassion and empathy for others, and some basic techniques to handle social stressors.
Side by Side gratefully acknowledges Active 20-30 Club Redwood Empire, Bella Vista Foundation, BioMarin, Community Foundation Sonoma County Basic Human Needs Fund, Heck Foundation, Heffernan Foundation, Walter S. Johnson Foundation, Jonas Family Foundation, Kaiser Permanente – Sonoma-Marin, Medtronic, National Association of Theater Owners (NATO), Safeway Foundation, Sonoma County Vintners Foundation, and Westamerica Bank for supporting YouThrive.
UnBroken features the Irene M. Hunt School, Real Alternatives, and YouThrive. The film was shortlisted for the Social Impact Media Awards and screened at the 2021 Oakland Film Festival.
Video credit: Andrew Hida.