Youth Programs take place in a structured environment between the hours of 3:00 and 7:00pm, Monday through Friday. To align with the local school’s schedule, Bresee has extended hours on Tuesday (1:00pm to 7:00pm). Specific program elements include Academics, Career-readiness, STEM, Arts, Athletics, and Service.
Bresee’s Academic programming equips youth to pursue their education, overcoming the barriers of poor performing schools and high dropout rates, through:
- Daily data-driven homework assistance for middle school students by grade and study hall for high school students, provided by staff and high quality volunteers, maintaining a staff to student ratio of at least 1:8. Bresee’s four classrooms are quiet places for study, equipped with textbooks, encyclopedias, and other resources.
- Extended homework assistance for students who present a D or F on their most recent report card, to equip them to get caught up on their schoolwork and provide them with individualized academic assistance, ultimately increasing their grades.
- Academic case management in which staff members hold students accountable to their school work, using interim and semester-end report cards and standards-based pre- and post-assessments, serve as a liaison between parents and teachers, and create improvement plans for students who are at-risk of failing.
- College prep that prepares middle school and high school students for four-year universities by providing A-G requirements workshops, financial aid instruction, SAT prep classes, college tours using Bresee’s two 25-passenger buses and 10 passenger van, college information seminars for parents, and workshops to help make college an affordable reality including FAFSA and scholarship bootcamps.
- Bresee provides annual college scholarships to its alumni based on financial need and involvement in Bresee, awarding $30,825 to 12 students in 2014 and over $530,000 to 112 students in the last decade.
- Bresee’s Alumni Coordinator provides ongoing mentoring, support, and college advisory services to ensure Bresee alumni persist and graduate.
In a neighborhood with high levels of unemployment and poverty, Bresee’s Career-readiness program fosters youth who ultimately become economically independent, productive citizens through:
- An on-site internship, Goals for Life, which trains high school students in areas including peer mentoring, financial literacy, career planning, computer skills, character development, and college prep and then places them as paid interns at Bresee, tutoring and mentoring to their younger peers. Since 2008, 137 youth have graduated from the program, with 95% of them going on to college.
- A paid internship program, in collaboration with the Workforce Investment Act, providing job training, career counseling, paid internships to older youth including job research, application and resume writing, interview practice, and professionalism culminating in a mock interview demonstrating the skills learned. After completing training, students are placed in a 160-hour paid internship at a local business. This program has enhanced employment and academic skills to over 560 youth since 2001.
- A paid advanced media internship where 10 high school students participate in seven months of media training (twice a week), including monthly guest presentations from professional film makers, a story based project, and coordinating Bresee’s annual Youth Film Festival on Social Justice, in partnership with Fox Entertainment Group.
Bresee’s STEM programs equip youth with the hands-on skills and experiences that will mold them into the creative, innovative, critical thinkers of the future through:
- Weekly technology trainings in Bresee’s two technology labs, including professionally led graphic design, web design, Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, and WordPress classes that improve grades and increase future employability. Students are given projects to show evidence of skills mastery, demonstrating to the instructor their ability to apply their knowledge in a real-world environment.
- Weekly hands-on Common Core science workshops for middle school students, focusing on mapping community green spaces and utilizing Bresee’s on-site ecological park.
- Suspending afterschool programming during the summer and transforming into a STEM summer day camp where project-based activities give youth hands-on STEM training and a safe place to spend their summer vacation. In 2014, Bresee’s first annual STEM summer day camp resulted in 89% of participants demonstrating increased interest and awareness of careers in the STEM fields.
- Monthly Nanotechnology workshops that teach high school students the fundamentals of nanotechnology including the basic principles, the properties that make nanomaterials different, and how they can be used to provide solutions to real-world problems.
- A paid advanced media internship where 10 high school students will participate in seven months of media training (twice a week), including monthly guest presentations from professional film makers, a story based project, and coordinating Bresee’s annual Youth Film Festival on Social Justice, in partnership with Fox Entertainment Group.
Yearly school budget cuts continue to result in reduced arts education in Bresee’s community. Bresee’s Arts program enables youth to express themselves creatively and share their work with the community through a bi-annual showcase via:
- Media programming led by professional instructors train youth in film and new media journalism in Bresee’s two technology labs, preparing them for advanced film studies or an apprenticeship in the film and television industry. Programming culminates in Bresee’s annual Youth Film Festival on Social Justice, which inspires youth to think critically about important issues influencing the community. Since its inception, 866 students have submitted 420 films that were judged by staff, civic leaders (including Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti), and film industry professionals, awarding winners over 175 camcorder packages as prizes.
- Professionally led Choir classes that teach youth discipline and how to build teamwork through mastering songs.
- Dance classes in Bresee’s on-site dance studio, taught by local professionals focusing on modern dance and hip-hop.
- Professionally led photography workshops giving youth the opportunity to serve as junior photojournalists, documenting Bresee events and the community at-large.
- Graffiti art classes that are professionally led and teach students basic studio art skills, while encouraging them to use art to spread positive messages. Classes take place in Bresee’s on-site art studio.
- Emcee writing workshops, led by Knockstudy in Bresee’s music studio, provide a creative musical outlet while building literacy skills.
Bresee’s Athletics program offers recreational and competitive sports programming, where students not only improve their athletic skills and physical health but also learn character and sportsmanship through:
- Competitive basketball and soccer leagues that foster team building and skill development, competing against other local youth organizations, through the Central City Basketball Association (CCBA), Youth Premiere Soccer League, and Shatto Park Youth Summer League.
- Recreational sports including indoor soccer, volleyball, and Powerball that encourage youth to engage in physical activity.
- Karate workshops, led by a Bresee alumni from Team Fearless, that teach strength, discipline and character.
- Fitness and nutrition workshops that educate young people about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.
- Physically challenging field trips and summer camp excursions including a weeklong backcountry hiking trip and a 280 mile bike ride from Morro Bay to Los Angeles, providing young people with the opportunity to escape the city and explore the world outside their own neighboorhoods.
Bresee creates lasting change in the community by fostering character, instilling the value of service, and encouraging youth to give back to their community through:
- Weekly small group mentoring that builds lasting relationships while focusing on character education using “Character Counts!”, a framework centered on six pillars of character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship.
- Semester-long High school service learning workshops that empower youth to lead a service project in their community, creating systemic change while developing leadership skills.
- Young Life programming which uses a faith-based approach to teach morality and the virtues of service.