Young people are often marginalized, overlooked and ignored. But Metro believes in investing in the lives of young people and preparing them for the future. Whether it is helping them to find a job, pairing them up with a role model, taking them on a trip to a museum, helping them with school work, or providing them with a safe place to hang out.
Our programs are based on the premise that perseverance, responsibility, hard work, and hope are timeless principles the next generation needs to overcome life’s challenges.
The ‘I Choose Me’ Mentoring Program
In response to President Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper Initiative,” Metro started “I Choose Me,” an innovative community-based mentoring program that provides individual and group based mentoring opportunities for young boys and girls of color.
Its mission is to promote the long-term wellbeing of youth through a comprehensive mentor-focused, family-centered, community-based approach that builds support systems in order to create self-sufficiency. Its mission also reflects the core tenets of the program:
- Youth will choose success though a strong system of support from mentors, peers, family, professionals and community.
- These “supporters” all work together, encouraging youth to avoid justice system involvement.
- Youth will develop and implement long-range plans for success based in attainable careers.
The “I Choose Me” program has been very effective at reducing juvenile justice contact, encouraging empowerment, improving academic achievement, reducing truancy and dropout rates, and promoting positive social behaviors.
At Metro, we have often dreamed of a place where residents, faith-based organizations and nonprofits would work together and wrap support around young people making changes in their lives.
This place where residents faith-based groups and nonprofits come together is called Neighborhood College, where the motto there is “Listen, Learn and Lead.”
Metro’s Neighborhood College program targets youth involved in the juvenile justice system. It promotes positive interventions to reduce recidivism and enhance peer supports. We also help youth succeed in the labor market by providing education and job training that will lead to high school diploma and/or industry-recognized credentials.
Through funding from the Department of Labor, Metro started 12 Neighborhood Colleges across four regions in the United States: Riverside, CA; Fresno, CA; Pima County, AZ, and Atlanta, GA. Services are targeted for youth ages 14-24 who reside in high-poverty, high-crime communities.
The ‘I Am…’ Mentoring Program
In Metro’s “I Am” mentoring program, youth (ages 8-17), and their mentors, participate in structured activities designed to promote positive role modeling and community involvement. It also promotes the building of local partnerships to support youth in the areas of workforce, education, supportive relationships and personal development.
Metro is currently expanding its mentoring program to also focus on school-based activities, community centered activities, and pre- to post-release activities for youth involved in the justice system.
Some of the outcomes of this project include reduced juvenile justice contact, enhanced community safety by decreased drug use, truancy, and other high-risk behaviors.
Metro believes that past transgressions do not determine the future, and that young people deserve a “clean slate.”
Clean Slate offers young people the opportunity to increase their employability, sustain educational endeavors, divert juvenile justice involvement, and receive assistance in the criminal record expungement process.
Clean Slate applies the principles of Transformational Leadership — a four-phase leadership development model – and provides mentoring, community service learning, case management, and employment training.
In order to prevent poverty, Project Empower focuses on improving the long-term labor market prospects of female juvenile offenders ages 14-21.
This post-release program targets female ex-offenders, however services are provided to both male and females with a history of abuse, family turmoil, early puberty, learning disabilities and school failure, and mental health and substance abuse issues.
Metro provides a thorough assessment, case management, classes through the Neighborhood College, and more.
Good Neighbor Centers
The Good Neighborhood Centers have provided a beacon of hope to underserved communities in San Diego for over four decades. The centers – which serve over 40,000 people annually — provide food and clothing, and create opportunities for local residents to give back to their community through practical service.
As Metro’s longest running program, the Good Neighbor Centers are supported entirely by donations from individuals, groups, and churches. It costs $180 a day for the centers to remain open.