Huckleberry’s Project READY (Reconnecting, Educating & Achieving Dreams for Youth), launched in 2016, is an expansion of CARC’s diversion services to school-based settings, offering programs that help youth avoid contact with the juvenile justice system.
Data shows that a major risk factor for juvenile justice involvement is school failure, with the highest rate of school failure occurring during the transition from middle to high school. Black students are three times more likely to be suspended or expelled than white students, and students who have been suspended are more likely to be held back a grade and drop out of school.
Project READY partners with two San Francisco Middle Schools: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Academic Middle School and Willie L. Brown, Jr. Middle School. Students in the program are often from neighborhoods that are disproportionately experiencing/witnessing community violence, poverty, trauma, and have higher adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).
The program partners with students from the spring of 7th grade through the fall semester of 9th grade, delivering: academic support & intervention in and out of the classroom, social emotional learning/development, individual & family mental health services and individual case management, combined with parental support and education.
The program ensures that middle schoolers who are struggling with academic and/or behavioral performance successfully transition to high school and avoid arrest. Project READY also collaborates with school staff to improve school culture by building more healing-centered practices to co-create healing-centered educational communities.
Project READY program components include:
- Intensive & individualized one-on-one case management
- Eight-week group in the fall and spring of 8th grade
- Family Partnerships: monthly family meetings with program therapist
- Individual and family counseling
- Academic support: in class & after school
- Summer programming focused on community building, youth development, health, wellness & academics
- Parental support and education including Huckleberry’s Parent’s Turn workshops
- Empowering and connecting youth-parent-school-community
- Connection to community resources (jobs, extracurricular activities, etc.)
During the first four years of programming, 97% of Project READY students made improvements on or met at least one case plan goal, 81% of participants made progress on at least half of their case plan goals, 80% of participants increased their GPA from 7th to 8th grade, and 83% of students decreased their number of behavioral incidents from 8th to 9th grade.
An independent third party evaluation recently concluded that Project READY is successful at delivering high-quality, youth-centered programming.