When youth come to Peace4Kids for the first time, they've no idea what to expect. They walk through the doors and are welcomed by smiling and warm Peace4Kids volunteers and realize… this is a different kind of place. As one teen shared,
"Random people started coming up to me as if they already knew me."
The main point-of-entry to Peace4Kids is The Core Saturday Program, providing creative and educational courses, field trips, life skills and mentorship opportunities for 300+ youth, ages 4-18 years old.
Held each Saturday, this program connects youth in foster care with their peers, with siblings from whom they may have been separated, and with dedicated volunteers in a welcoming environment.
Trained staff and volunteers provide a point of consistency by providing a safe, nurturing environment where youth are given the guidance to learn cooperation, conflict resolution, and build self-esteem. This is accomplished through creative education classes, including cooking, science, creative writing, film, poetry, dance, digital graphics, and other visual and expressive arts.
To register a youth for our Saturday Program, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Peace4Kids Mentor Program links youth in foster care with caring adults who have made long-term commitments to mentorship. Stemming from our philosophy of “community mentoring”, matches are created organically through our Saturday Core Program. Mentoring has long been the single most-requested element from youth.
The Peace4Kids Mentoring Program focuses on the relationship and is an effective way of providing young people with a supportive and enriching experience. Evidence shows that youth mentoring positively impacts the lives of both young people and mentors. Youth who regularly met with Mentors for at least one year:
- 98% stayed in school
- 98% did not become a teen parent
- 98% avoided gang participation
- 85% did not use drugs
The greatest gift to offer a young person is genuine interest in their life and willingness to listen attentively.
Transitional Youth Services
Providing a far greater depth of service, this program serves youth up to seven days a week, preparing them with invaluable skills as they ready themselves to “age out” of the foster care system. The program provides intensive supports and services that enable youth to access the most basic and vital of community services during the years before and after aging out, and is uniquely positioned to steward these teens into adulthood.
All transitioning youth need better access to physical and mental health services, as well as vocational counseling, transitional housing consultation, and general guidance regarding self-sufficiency. Though these services exist for emancipated youth, these “new adults” do not know how to access them.
Trained Resource Specialists, part of the full-time staff at Peace4Kids, assist youth transitioning from foster care to adulthood by connecting them with these life lines, as well as teaching them basic life skills such as understanding how to manage finances and developing basic soft skills that will aide them in whatever career path they may choose. The practical realities of finding a home or a job can be a daunting task that is wrought with the potential of crisis and confusion. For this reason, a Resource Specialist is on-call 24 hours a day.
Leadership Program | Advocacy Movement
The Leadership Program and Advocacy Movement encourages foster youth to inform and engage the community about the child welfare system. We engage in intensive and personal work with current and former foster youth to lead advocacy efforts, empowering other youth to help inform public policy. The Leadership Program is comprised of current and former youth in foster care who lead self-advocacy efforts, plan events, and empower other youth to advocate for themselves, inform others and testify before local and state government agencies.
- In 2009, Peace4Kids was instrumental, through advocacy events and national media coverage, in supporting the passage of AB12, California legislation that extends support for foster youth until the age of 21.
- In 2010, Peace4Kids launched FosterWise, a network of youth leaders who discuss foster care system issues. A key result was participation in the redesign of Youth Development Services, leading Los Angeles County’s Department of Children and Family Services to change how it measures success.
- Presently we participate in a Policy Link coalition to address equity issues in California. As the only representative with a foster care focus, our aim is to balance policy agendas with foster care reform objectives.
Peace4Kids is supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.