Fresh Futures Youth Program
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During the summer, students who meet all program requirements qualify to be placed in paid six-week summer internships. During these internships, students have the opportunity to use skills learned during the Fresh Futures job readiness sessions, and they receive on-the-job training and feedback from their employers. The program typically serves more than 80 students a year. Due to limited space, enrollment is capped each year.
Interested in Enrolling?
Students who meet the following eligibility requirements are invited to apply to become a part of the Fresh Futures Family:
- Be at least 14-19 years when entering the program
- Be a high school student
- Have parental consent
- Be able to provide copies of all required documentation
- Have an email address
In 2014, FreshMinistries launched our three-year, highly successful, Fresh Path Youth Program for adjudicated youth with grant money awarded by the US Department of Labor. This unique comprehensive program targeted court involved and high-risk youth and provided services for offending youth, their families and the community. With funds from the State of Florida, FreshMinistries can expand the Fresh Path Youth Program and use proven programming tools to prevent and intervene on the complex causes of youth crime and delinquency.
During its programming cycle between 2014 and 2017, Fresh Path was rated number 1 out of 19 FaceForward 2 awardees across the country and had the support and partnership of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, the States Attorney Office, Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, Duval County Public Schools and a myriad of community organizations and businesses. If awarded, these and other partnerships will grow to allow more youth referred to the program to participate in Fresh Path’s services and programming as part of their probation or diversion program. Successful completion of the program allows – in most cases – the expungement or sealing of the youth’s juvenile records to remove future barriers to education and employment and offers a second chance to Jacksonville’s justice involved youth. Finally, Fresh Path’s Juvenile Justice Prevention and Intervention Program builds off of decades of FreshMinistries’ experience working with Jacksonville core-city, at-hope youth to help them achieve “whole person” academic, career and civic success and empower youth to overcome issues and challenges that are impeding their success.
Our Fresh Path Youth Program is going strong amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and we were able to successfully pivot all activities to an online/virtual platform back in March 2020. Since going virtual, we have increased the number of online workshops and trainings to provide additional pro-social opportunities for students to attend academic support, mental health counseling, substance abuse counseling (as needed) and group mentoring sessions. The Fresh Path Youth Program is currently working with 60 youth who are either involved in the juvenile justice system or high-risk of going down that path. COVID-19 has not limited our abilities to serve these individuals and with the State’s support, we would expand services and efforts to reach even more of Jacksonville’s youth.
A new initiative within the Fresh Path Youth Program is our Drug and Alcohol Prevention Education trainings, which are in response to the increased number of middle and high school aged youth in Duval County who have reportedly used substances and/or alcohol within the past 30 days (referencing the 2020 Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey: https://www.myflfamilies.com/service-programs/samh/prevention/fysas/2020/); but also, due to the increased number of youth in the Fresh Path Youth Program who have admitted to using (or are currently using) drugs and/or alcohol during our risk assessments. We are happy to report that 100% of the students enrolled in Fresh Path participate in these behavior-altering workshops and those who require substance abuse and/or mental health counseling also receive those services, at no cost to the participant. Parent/guardian and family participation is also a vital component of Fresh Path as we believe education starts at home and our workshops are developed to tackle and facilitate difficult conversations between parent and child. This includes the family’s participation with the development of their child’s Program Plan which focuses on reducing risk factors and steps to completing juvenile probation requirements.
Fresh Path offers services to at-risk students to help them succeed in school, make good decisions and avoid future involvement with the court system. The program serves two groups, starting with students ages 10-13, who receive support services, academic help and mentoring, with the opportunity to join our Fresh Futures program when they reach high school. Separately, the program serves youth ages 10-18, some of whom are court-involved or in need of additional support and guidance. We realized that getting arrested as a youth can be the first step on a path to life of challenges; low educational attainment, difficulty finding employment and too often, more arrests and prison. Fresh Path offers all youth a chance to build a brighter future.
In addition to the U.S Department of Labor, community partners include Career Source Northeast Florida, Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, the State Attorney’s Early Intervention and Diversion Programs for Juveniles, and the Department of Juvenile Justice.
About the Program
The Fresh Path program offers educational supports such as mentoring and tutoring, along with field trips, work readiness training and employment supports. Successful completion of the program may result in expungement of records for eligible participants. Comprehensive case management will also be provided to participants and their families as part of a holistic approach to removing barriers and positioning youth for success.
The Need: Local Statistics
- 63% of youth in prison are incarcerated for drug use, disorderly conduct, probation violations, property crimes and status offenses, such as running away.
- In 2016-2017, Duval County had 2,423 delinquency complaints.
- In Duval County, black youth are arrested at a rate that is 15% higher than white youth.
- Florida led the nation between 2011-2015 with the highest number of youth in state or federal prisons.
Fresh Path’s TOTAL IMPACT Since 2014
- Youth and young adults ages 14 to 24 who have been court-involved during the last year.
- Participants must be either under the supervision of the Juvenile Justice System in out-of-home placement, on probation or parole or under an alternative sentence or in a diversion program as an alternative to juvenile prosecution.
- Must live in Duval County and cannot have been convicted of a crime as an adult.
BECOME AN EMPLOYEE PARTNER
We welcome employer partners each summer. The cost to hire a student for six weeks is only $250. Our employer partners have included: The Jacksonville Zoo, The Florida Department of Health, Beaver Street Enterprise Center and many other local businesses and non-profit organizations.
BECOME A VOLUNTEER
Please let us know if you are interested in becoming a volunteer tutor to help with Fresh Futures. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.