Junior Jackets

This Summer the Family Spirit Center is launching a new partnership with the Founders of Young Lives Matter Foundation. They are a grassroots, Berkeley-based, Black-led organization that builds community peace through youth leadership development, culturally-attuned mentoring, positive programming and other opportunities for high-risk young people. Their signature program is Jr. Jackets Football & Cheerleading, which as the co-founder explains, “Is just a vehicle for supporting kids, building their leadership, and keeping them off the streets.”

Violence has been on the rise across our community and country. This Summer is an especially dangerous time for Black youth in Berkeley due to the return of gang members to the community from prison who are seeking to engage marginalized young people in street life. 

Wrapping high risk young people in positive activities and caring, culturally attuned relationships are the most effective interventions to redirect young people away from violence and toward positive community engagement. The programs that are most effective at improving the life chances of high risk young people are far too often left to struggle without adequate resources.

We are seeking to raise $20,000 to help Young Lives Matter get through the football season with everything they need, and with some left over to begin next season. Go here to donate!  

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Serving 150 of our community’s most marginalized youth every Summer, Young Lives Matter runs on the modest budget of $20,000 per year. Families served by this program often cannot afford registration fees or fees for uniforms and equipment, so the great burden of this cost falls on the two volunteers who founded Young Lives Matter Foundation. 

While longer term strategies for sustainability are in the works, we are asking our wider community to join us in supporting the incredible work of this volunteer-led violence prevention and intervention organization.

100% of your tax-deductible donations go directly to purchasing equipment, uniforms, paying for buses, renting fields, paying referees and league dues, etc. Led by a team of dedicated volunteers, none of the money is paid to those who staff the program. In addition, your financial gift is 100% tax deductible because the Young Lives Matter Foundation is a non-profit organization with 501(c)3 status.

And if you want to come and meet these local heroes over Zoom, please sign up to register for our monthly Community Peace Talks over Zoom! The next one is scheduled for July 14 from 6-7PM over Zoom. You can register here.