Shelter 37 was inspired by the personal journey of its founder, James Washington, whose life experiences are a story of triumph over adversity. Under James’ leadership, Shelter 37 attempts to address the root cause of school and personal challenges by providing guidance and support that is rooted in compassion and a deep understanding of the difficult environments in which many low-income youth and young men of color find themselves.
We can change the course of young lives through education and employment!
At Shelter 37 young people are taught the essential skills that are needed to be successful. These essential skills are taught within the framework of the world of work, and as such, young people are taught skills such as management, organization, communication, leadership, networking, financial planning, and mental health and wellness. Students are grouped together to solve a real-world issue that demonstrates problem-solving, creativity, analytical skills, and collaboration.
We believe that ALL PEOPLE deserve an opportunity at a bright and successful future.
Education and Schooling
In every state that reported statistics, low-income students graduate at a lower rate than their non-low-income peers. Lower high school graduation rates means these low-income students – who, on the national average, make up 45 percent of the student body – are likely to remain low-income. The difference in yearly salaries between high school grads and non-grads is thousands of dollars. It’s a vicious cycle: students from households with lower incomes than their peers graduate at lower rates and in turn earn lower salaries themselves.
In addition to low-income students, African American and Hispanic students graduate at substantially lower rates than their white peers and the national average, and are far more likely to attend a “drop out factory.” (gradnation.org) In fact, in 2009-10 the NATIONAL graduation rate for black male students was a dismal 52%. In 2010-2011 the LA COUNTY graduation rate for black male students was merely 58%. (studentsmatter.org, 2013)
Rates of unemployment for the lowest-income families — those earning less than $20,000 — have topped 21 percent, nearly matching the rate for all workers during the 1930s Great Depression. Loss of jobs in the recent recession has hit younger, less-educated workers especially hard. (AP, 2013)
In fact, since July 2010, unemployment rates for young black males continues to top the list of jobless rates for all demographic groups at a rate of 33% (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010). In 2010, five of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas, fewer than
half of working-age black males held jobs. In 25 of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas, fewer than 55% of working-age black males were, in fact, employed.
Low-income and African-American communities have a higher percentage of adult males behind bars (and many for drug or lesser crimes than whites). That means fewer fathers, grandfathers and mentors for young men to look up to. Without a stable father figure, young men are more likely to follow the paths of their father (jacksonfreepress.com, 2011). A recent study released in the journal Crime and Delinquency (2014) reported that nearly half of black males in the U.S. are arrested by age 23, which can hurt their ability to find work, go to school and participate fully in their communities.
Approximately 23 of every 100 young black male adults were incarcerated versus only 6 to 7 of every 100 Asians, Hispanics, and Whites, which results in black youth becoming “disconnected” from schools and the labor market and essentially giving up on mainstream possibilities and institutions.
Aspiring Leaders Program
Our original life skills program, Aspiring Leaders, an 8-week workshop series, teaches young people the skills that are needed to be successful in life. Guest presenters include industry leaders in business, law, education, finance, real estate, professional sports and politics.
We know that providing workshops alone is not enough so we make a commitment to each student to mentor and guide them throughout their personal journey of continuing their education and finding jobs. Each workshop graduate receives personal attention and support from our network of professionals who are committed to the student’s success. Relationships and networking are key in this process. That’s REAL Impact! (insert video or quote from one or two graduates. Jomal Green, Andrew Arthur)
Shelter 37 and the Los Angeles Education Corps have teamed up to provide a “second chance” at achieving a high school diploma. Completing a high school diploma is an important first step in changing one’s life.
As a fully accredited high school, the Shelter 37 program provides youth ages 16-24 an opportunity to earn a high school diploma, while developing essential critical thinking and analytical skills that are required for long-term employment.
The alternative education program is suitable for young people who are seeking a fast-paced option that also provides life and job skill development, and job placement.
Employment & Job Training
We have seen the deterioration of lives and communities occur because jobs are not available, especially for low-income youth and young black males.
Through our unique partnerships, we are able to offer students who complete the ASPIRING LEADERS program, an opportunity for first consideration with one of the many employers with whom we work.
We hold true to the phrase, “…it’s not how you start, but how you finish!” as many of the young people we work with have criminal records that might otherwise impede their ability to find gainful employment. We believe lives can be repaired and better choices can be made when essential skills are taught and applied. Those skills are taught in our school and ASPIRING LEADERS programs and then are used to secure a job and pursue an education.