Overview of Programs
Leadership Empowerment and Training
The goal of the Educational Assistance Program is to offer resources that will help young people build confidence. It motivates the families to understand what they can do, not what can be done for them, through:
1) Supervised Study Hall every weekday
2) Saturday Morning Individual Tutoring and Mentoring
3) Effective Black Parenting Classes
4) Summer Education and Recreational Camp
5) Remedial Reading and Mathematics Classes
The S.A.F.E. programs, which operate year round, focus on adults as well as children. S.A.F.E. supports the entire family in the fight against gangs, drugs, and violence by offering the following programs...
The Leadership Empowerment and Training program provides families with constructive experiences to raise their aspirations, reinforces confidence, and strengthens their capability to inspire others with the:
1) Parent Support Group
2) S.A.F.E. Board of Directors
3) Successful Role Models weekly program
4) Male and Female Life Skills instruction
5) Teen Peer Council
The Self-Esteem Enrichment Program centers on quality creativity and ethics while encouraging participants to reach out to new possibilities and responsibilities through such activities as:
1) The Gospel Choir
2) The African Dance and Drum Corp
3) Jazz Dance
Positive Alternative to Gangs
The Board of Directors all live or have lived in the community and know that "Just Say No" is ineffective unless one offers a productive alternative to gangs such as:
1) Paid Teen Leader Jobs
2) Job Training seminars
3) Conflict Resolution Without Violence workshop
4) Teen Alternative Network Community Outreach Program
5) Sports and recreation programs
The S.A.F.E. After School Program
Each day, from 3:00pm until 6:00pm, more than 125 children come to S.A.F.E. for positive activities and educational assistance. The first ninety minutes is dedicated to activity. Everyone participates in Gospel Choir, Jazz Dance, African Dance and Drums, Arts and Crafts, and Recreation. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the boys and girls are separated for Life Skills Instruction. These session range from poetry to conflict resolution to self-esteem enhancement sessions. The final ninety minutes is spent on homework. The teen mentors and seventh and eight grade leaders for the future assist the younger children with school work. On Saturday mornings, all members of S.A.F.E. (participants and teens) are matched with an adult mentor/tutor who provides positive reinforcement and academic assistance. The After School Program operates from September through May.
S.A.F.E. Teen Alternative Network
Operating from September to May and during the Summer Camp, the Network enrolls thirty teens during the academic year and forty during the Summer Camp. The Network is founded on four pillars:
In a community in which 60% of teens drop out of school, right now 98% of the S.A.F.E. teens are enrolled in high school and are maintaining a passing grade point average. Enrollment in the Teen Alternative Network and subsequent employment with S.A.F.E. is contingent on academic performance. For many teens, the support and structure of S.A.F.E. enables them to be the first in their family to successfully obtain a high school diploma.
The Teen Alternative Network focuses on two broad areas: life skills and job skills. The former concentrates on interpersonal skills ranging from conflict resolution to health and hygiene to male/female relationships. The latter includes the skills necessary to obtain employment. In addition, resume writing, interview skills, and public speaking classes prepare the teen for the full-time work world. Classes in interview skills also prepare the teens for college interviews. The teens receive this training in classes with the younger children on Tuesdays and Thursdays and in specialized training on alternative Monday nights.
Nationwide, violent death is the leading killer among African American youth. One of every four African American young men is involved with the justice system. Yet, since its inception, S.A.F.E. has buried none of its teens and seen only one go to prison. The drug trade is the number one youth employer in North Lawndale. S.A.F.E. is the number two. Depending upon the statistical source, neighborhood teen unemployment ranges from 50% to 75%. The Teen Alternative Network provides two important components to combat gangs, drugs, and violence: positive activities and an economic alternative.
The S.A.F.E. Teen Alternative Network values empowering the community to better the community. The wages received are not hand outs; they are the just wage for honest work. In some cases, the teen is the first in his/her family to move from welfare to work. The teens are empowered to assist in the further development of S.A.F.E. Each year, the teens elect five fellow teens to the Teen Peer Council which serves, in conjunction with the S.A.F.E. Board of Directors, as the governing body for the Alternative Network. Topics for Monday night training meetings and new programmatic ideas are suggested by the Peer Council. In addition, these teens participate in the hiring of new teens. On the other hand, each teen is required to "give back" to the North Lawndale Community. Each week, each teen volunteers three hours at S.A.F.E.
S.A.F.E. and the Computer Learning Center
A recent issue of Emerge Magazine reviewed the gaps in the information and computer age and declared that the nation is on the verge of an information apartheid. The S.A.F.E. program finds itself in this apartheid. The majority of the members of S.A.F.E. program finds itself in this apartheid. The majority of the members of S.A.F.E. do not own personal computers. The facilities used jointly by St. Agatha Church, Our Lady of the Westside School and S.A.F.E. lack recent computer technology.
In the Spring of 1999, S.A.F.E. began to create the Computer Learning Center (CLC) in an effort to end the information apartheid. Incorporating up-to-date, networked, Internet accessible computers, the CLC enables individuals to "log on" to the new millennium.