Social Venture Partners Tampa Bay has selected Youth at Risk as its investment focus for 2016 and 2017. Youth at Risk may be defined as children or adolescents who are less likely to transition successfully into adulthood. Many studies have shown that Florida has a high percentage of vulnerable youth who are not prepared for adulthood and that appropriate interventions are necessary to ensure a positive outcome for the child.
Youth at Risk in Florida
A successful transition into adulthood would include the ability to complete high school and pursue additional educational, vocational, or career opportunities; develop independent living and social skills; exhibit positive moral behavior; remain free from crime; as well as the ability to maintain healthy relationships. Those who succeed in making the transition, have options for building a positive adult life including earning income, caring for and supporting their children and families, community service and stewardship, and in general, being productive members of the community. Vulnerable youth may be at-risk for a myriad of reasons including: poverty; lack of basic skills in math and reading; exposure to criminal behavior; involvement in the child welfare or foster care system; being victims of abuse, neglect, abandonment, or bullying; being homeless; and suffering from mental illness or drug addiction. Youth at Risk often exhibit behavioral problems at school, home or in the community; poor academic performance; delinquent behavior; self-harming behavior; and a pattern of poor lifestyle choices.
Major Investments SVP Tampa Bay has invested funds, time and capacity building activities to help non-profits in the Tampa Bay area.
Positive Outcomes for Addressing Discrimination
In 2014 our focus areas were at-risk youth, at-risk families, and veterans. We selected Community Tampa Bay as our investee to help them execute their vision to end all forms of discrimination by cultivating inclusive leaders to change communities through dialogue and cross-cultural interactions. One of their key programs is ANYTOWN® which is a nationally recognized program for teens, providing youth leadership and diversity education. Community Tampa Bay provides the tools to have difficult conversations with people who don’t look alike or come from different backgrounds. They empower the youth they serve to build relationships based on understanding and mutual respect.
Challenges for Youth Aging Out of Foster Care
In 2015 our focus areas were homelessness, youth at-risk and K12 education and we selected Ready for Life as our investee.
Ready for Life, Inc. (RFL) is a nonprofit agency that has taken the lead in providing resources, connections and hope for youth that are “aging out” of the foster care system in Pinellas County. The mission of RFL is to engage foster care youth, private citizens and public resources to assist Pinellas County foster youth in a successful transition to adulthood. Through RFL’s efforts and the support of SVP Tampa Bay and our community, youth are assisted in obtaining housing as opposed to being homeless, staying in school and seeking a diploma instead of dropping out, obtaining employment instead of being unemployed. The programs of Ready for Life build self-esteem and character so the youth can move forward with their lives. SVP Tamp Bay Partners are involved with many successful initiatives with Ready for Life.
Often times SVP Tampa Bay learns of other nonprofits that we would like to help in a small yet meaningful way. In these cases, we offer expertise and/or smaller amounts of funding to help nonprofits work through a challenge. In some instances, smaller grants are often given as seed money. At this time SVP Tampa Bay has given expertise and two smaller grants to Alpha House and Positive Spin and a time only commitment to help Adoption Related Services.