Our Promotor Pathway Program Turns 1!

Every school should have this program.
— NHHS Principal Sean Boulton

Project Hope Alliance kicked off 2016 with the launch of our Promotor Pathway Program, a new level of our innovative education continuum serving homeless youths ages 14-24. Now, one year later, we have watched our local implementation of the acclaimed intervention model transform local high school students, and rapidly grow to serve 24 students! Here are some inspiring updates on Promotor Pathway.

WHAT IS PROMOTOR PATHWAY?

We are breaking the cycle of intergenerational homelessness today through rapid rehousing and family stability, and tomorrow through groundbreaking education programs. Promotor Pathway aims to significantly shrink and ultimately eliminate gaps in education and opportunity for disconnected and disengaged youth struggling with homelessness.

According to the Orange County Department of Education, there are more than 26,000 children, grades K-12, struggling with homelessness in Orange County.

Young people experiencing homelessness are essentially in crisis mode. By removing the transportation barrier and supporting youths' educational, employment, and healthy living goals, promotores maintain a consistent relationship with youths beginning in high school all the way through their entry into the workforce.

Children experiencing homelessness are nine times more likely to repeat a grade, four times more likely to drop out of school, and three times more likely to be placed in special education programs than their housed peers, per the Institute for Children, Poverty, & Homelessness.

Developed by the Latin American Youth Center (LAYC) of Washington, D.C., the program pairs each youth with a single promotor, who provides one-on-one intensive support and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Born of the belief that a strong relationship with a caring adult is critical to a youth’s ability to succeed, promotores are professional intensive case managers who also act as a combination of youth development workers, advocates, and mentors who continue to support and guide youths all the way through early adulthood. The program’s sequential goals include supporting students to graduate high school, attend college or obtain post-secondary education, and earn a job with longterm career potential.

Children experiencing homelessness are 50 percent more likely to perform below grade level in both reading and spelling, and 150 percent more likely to perform below grade level in math.

Project Hope Alliance provides two experienced promotores for the relationship-based program, and aims to serve as many as 50 homeless and unstably housed students.

PARTNERSHIPS CARVING OUR PATHWAY

We are tremendously grateful for the national and local organizations who have partnered with us to make Promotor Pathway a success. 

  • Without LAYC's partnership, there would be no model to implement in this manner. Project Hope Alliance is one of only two other organizations nationwide chosen to execute this program. 
  • Promotor Pathway operates out of Newport Harbor High School (NHHS) through an enduring partnership with Newport-Mesa Unified School District (NMUSD), the first school district in California to adopt the program. Without NHHS Principal Seal Boulton's "yes," we would have never been able to impact so many young lives over the past year. There are an estimated 150 housing insecure youth at NHHS.
  • NHHS' Hope for Harbor group raises awareness, resources, and funds for Promotor Pathway students.
  • St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, an extraordinary longtime partner, is located across the street from NHHS and offers assistance to meet the various academic, social, and basic needs of students.
It has brought to our entire educational community a broader understanding of homelessness, and how it affects students, schools, community, and society as a whole.
— NHHS Principal Sean Boulton
St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church and Toshiba sponsor laptops for our Promotor Pathway Program.

St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church and Toshiba sponsor laptops for our Promotor Pathway Program.

AN INSPIRING LOOK BACK AT PATHWAY 2016

  • Promotor Pathway sprouted to serving 24 amazing students by year's end!
  • Our community sprang to share the news of Promotor Pathway’s launch. Notable local publications featured the announcement, including the Orange County Register and the Los Angeles Times
  • Former U.S. President Bill Clinton acknowledged our "extraordinary efforts on behalf of these students" in a letter to our CEO Jennifer Friend.
  • Promotor Pathway was featured in "Hidden in Plain Sight: Homeless Students in America's Public Schools," a must-read national report examining student homelessness.
  • Our CEO Jennifer Friend served as an expert panelist at LAYC's "Solutions for Youth: An Evaluation of the Promotor Pathway®" release event at the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C. The program's implementation has been rigorously evaluated, and the five-year study conducted by Urban Institute found its efficacy to be astounding. Findings showed that youths receiving a promotor were 1/3 more likely to be enrolled in school, 1/3 less likely to have a child, and 60% less likely to have slept in a shelter or streets.
  • St. Andrew's sponsored 30 new laptops for our Promotor Pathway students, and Toshiba stepped in with an amazing $5,000 donation toward additional laptops—moving us closer to our goal of 50 computers. The gift of a laptop creates an enduring partnership between a student and learning that remains with the student wherever he or she goes, from classroom to home.
  • Other donations to our Promotor Pathway students included new socks, snack bags, and posters crafted by our amazing Second Saturday volunteers, like our committed regulars, Team HAWK (Helping Each Other with Kindness) of Hope Elementary, Davis Magnet School, and St. Andrew's.
  • Mothers & Daughters for Multiple Causes raised a whopping $1,000 for Promotor Pathway during their holiday sweets fundraiser at the NHHS Holiday Boutique.
Our teachers, parents, and students are shocked at the number of students who are housing insecure. At this school where privilege comes without a second thought, it gave everyone an opportunity to pause and reflect. At the same time, our teachers, students, and parents started to pay attention to not only the amount of homeless students and parents, but homeless individuals around town. It is staggering.
— NHHS Principal Sean Boulton
To help her get to and from school, a Promotor Pathway student receives a much-needed bicycle, donated by our awesome Operations/Accounting Intern Kayley.

To help her get to and from school, a Promotor Pathway student receives a much-needed bicycle, donated by our awesome Operations/Accounting Intern Kayley.

A HOPE-FILLED LOOK FORWARD INTO PATHWAY 2017

  • The new year kicked off with our first-ever Promotor Pathway field trip to the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach. Students and promotores spent the day learning about the organization’s efforts in ocean stewardship as well as rescuing, rehabilitating, and releasing marine mammals. Lunch at Souplantation capped off the day, offering students and promotores a chance to relax, refuel, and connect.
  • Promotor Pathway goals for 2017 include increasing awareness and exposure within the NMUSD by developing, strengthening, and nurturing relationships with McKinney-Vento liaisons, NHHS Principal Boulton, NHHS teachers, NHHS Parent Teacher Association (PTA), NHHS Hope for Harbor, and Newport Harbor Educational Foundation (NHEF), whose mission is to promote academic excellence and enhance educational opportunities for all students at NHHS.
  • NHHS PTA has committed to supporting our Promotor Pathway students in various ways, including birthday celebrations and more.
  • Orange County United Way (OCUW) will connect Promotor Pathway students to a Financial Literacy for Young Adults class, which provides financial empowerment to youths through resources and coaches. These crucial services are part of OCUW's FACE 2024, a 10-year collaborative, community-wide action plan which seeks to cut the number of homeless and housing insecure children in Orange County in half by 2024. We are a proud ongoing partner of this effort.
I’ve been doing this for 16 years. For administrators, homelessness and students who are destitute is a frustrating variable to try to fix and solve. Beyond pooling limited money, clothing, and food, it was impossible to address the other issues that lead to homelessness. Project Hope Alliance’s Promotor Pathway Program has given us more than hope; it has been the ONLY group/organization that has gone beyond just helping the homeless issue. Promotor Pathway is giving families hope and students a future. Nobody grows up wanting to be homeless. Your circumstances are insurmountable, and you are driven to the state of hopelessness by variables beyond your control. Promotor Pathway eliminates obstacles and moves families back on track. Every school should have this program.
— NHHS Principal Sean Boulton

Contact Project Hope Alliance Development Coordinator Haley Cooper to find out how.