Youth Development for Safer Communities Too many communities – large and small -- are seeing an alarming rise in crime rates. The streets have become increasingly dangerous from both individual and gang violence. There are over 150,000 households with kids ages five to 21 within a 75 mile radius of Christian Outreach Planning Associate’s (COPA) headquarters in Oakland and many are being pulled into a life of crime on the streets because of lack of alternatives. The chance of becoming a victim of a violent crime in Oakland is one in 62.
Kids need better options to the life offered in the streets – the gangs, the drugs, the hopelessness. Research shows there is a direct correlation between employment and crime reduction in our inner cities.
Providing youth development programs, COPA focuses on economic empowerment of our at-risk youth. COPA provides youth with an environment where they are supported and nurtured in such a way to effectively promote positive self-esteem and optimal growth in all areas of development. Helping young people invest in themselves helps them see a brighter future by:
- Preparing them for employment through various work programs and connecting them with a mentor
- Providing recreational activities such as retreats and youth camps to keep kids engaged in positive activities and off the streets
- Counseling is offered to assist kids to work through life challenges that they face
- Working with juvenile centers to help kids contemplating suicide
- Identifying scholarships so that they can continue a higher degree of education We also network with employers in the local communities to provide them with a pool of qualified candidates from the COPA ranks to work within their corporations.
Our young people learn the skills and options which allow them to avoid the results of life in the street – prison, addiction, and death – and find true success. Help us extend our youth development programs to more kids with a small donation. And the result for all of us? Safer communities – and families.