What We Do
Our Triple “A” strategy of youth development provides programming in Academics, Arts, and Athletics within a framework of mentoring, character development and community engagement. We have taken successful nationally recognized programs and customized them to best address the needs and interests of youth in the City of Orange.
- Daily Homework Help
- High-Yield Learning Activities
- Visual Arts/ Drawing & Painting / Crafts
- Digital Arts (Video & Photo)
- Sports Leagues (futsal, basketball, etc.)
- Recreation Activities
- Fitness Activities
Building a Better Tomorrow, for the Youth of Today
Our staff and volunteers utilize A VIP youth engagement strategy.
- Values: We intentionally integrate character development and community engagement in all of our programs and activities.
- Individual Attention: Mentoring is the focus of everything we do. The positive personal relationships our staff and volunteers develop with each child are an essential element to our impact and success.
- Parental Involvement: We engage parents and keep in constant communication with them about their child’s progress and achievements.
It is our goal to ensure each young person who passes through our doors leaves better than when they entered.
DID YOU KNOW...
The Youth Center of Orange hosts a walking program to provide staff guided passage for our members at 4 of our 5 locations:
Old Towne Center: Walking Program from Cambridge, Palmyra and West Orange Elementary Schools
Grijalva Park: Walking program from Prospect Elementary School
El Camino Real Park: Walking Program from Sycamore Elementary School
Handy Park: Walking Program from Handy Elementary
The Challenges for Our Youth
Many youth in the City of Orange face an opportunity gap that limits their ability to reach their potential.
- Over 81% of students from local schools qualify for Free/Reduced Price Lunch
- Over 60% of local elementary school students are English Language Learners
- Our surrounding neighborhoods are more disadvantaged than 80% of neighborhoods nationwide
- 87% of youth we serve are from low-income households
- 53% of the youth we serve are from extremely low-income households
- 32% of our families are single parent households
- neighborhoods surrounding our Centers are more disadvantaged than 80% of neighborhoods nationwide.
These challenges and barriers are reflected in the poor academic outcomes of youth. At local elementary schools, 63% of students are below State Standards in English and 75% did not meet the state standards in Math. Many youth who are struggling academically have little to no access to the academic support. There are enrichment programs available but they usually charge significant amounts for their services. This equates to an “opportunity gap”.
According to the 2017 Orange County Community Indicators Report, this is especially true among Latino residents, who are most impacted by poverty and lower educational attainment. One quarter of Latino children in Orange County are living in poverty, compared to 17% of Orange County children overall. The achievement gap persists among economically disadvantaged youth, with a 19% difference in youth achieving State Standards in English. The gap for English Learners (EL) is far greater (42%). This is especially distressing, as EL students comprise 60% of the schools we serve.
Despite these grim statistics, until the Old Towne Youth Center opened in April 2017, a program of this kind has never existed for youth in the City of Orange. Many of the youth we serve have limited options for positive after school activities. We provide families in Orange with affordable and accessible high-quality youth development programs, community engagement opportunities, enriching activities and mentoring to address the opportunity gap that so many of our families face. As one parent told us, “Families in Orange have been waiting for years for something like this, for people like us, families struggling to stay afloat. A lot of people forget about us. To find something where our kids are safe and doing something positive is a God send for our families.”