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Social Advocates for Youth (SAY) is our Hometown HERO

Sonoma County's Social Advocates for Youth (SAY) literally saves lives. SAY serves diverse at-risk and high-needs populations through age 25, including children who have been physically, sexually or emotionally abused. 

The suite of photographs that populate the Community First website show the activities at SAY's Sunflower Community Garden. It is here where vegetables play a direct role in keeping teens out of gangs by giving them valuable work experience. The garden is a partnership between SAY and the City of Santa Rosa's Mayor's Gang Prevention Task Force. Once ready for harvest, the produce is offered to local homeless shelters, including SAY's Dr. Coffee Teen Shelter.

SAY in a nutshell:

  • Provides Hope. SAY currently serves hundreds of teens and young adults and their families annually through counseling programs. SAY works with schools, the Sonoma County Department of Probation, its own Medi-Cal Clinic, as well as other organizations, to serve the comprehensive mental health needs of its constituents.
  • Opportunities. Last year SAY employed 120 youths as a partner with the Sonoma County Youth Ecology Corps. For many, it's their first job, and offers an opportunity to "re-start" their lives after leaving gang involvement.
  • Transformation. Many foster care youth celebrate their 18th birthday by being termed-out of the program and becoming homeless. Without support systems like family and friends, they need help and training to complete basic life skills like cooking and finding employment.
  • Reduce youth homelessness. SAY's proven Street Outreach Program reaches out to youths to prevent child abuse and exploitation by getting kids off the streets and into safe and stable housing and employment.

SAY is really good at what it does. It is the most effective local non-profit agency we know.

Community First is so impressed with SAY's effectiveness that we incentivize our employees to roll up their sleeves and help by rewarding them with additional vacation hours when they help out at SAY. On Tuesday, July 16, a cadre of Community First'ers cooked and served and hung out with the young adults at SAY's Mary and José Tamayo Village, which provides affordable housing for former foster youth (see pics at right)

If you want to help local teens and young adults (and actually change lives while improving your local community) find out more, see the SAY website.

The photos seen throughout the Community First website where taken by local photographer Alvin Jornada. In his day-job, Alvin is a photographer for the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. In his off hours, this caped-crusader captures images of "people helping people" throughout the North Bay. Like super hero Alvin's local pics? Take a look at more of his local imagery: Alvin Jornada's website

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