About Us

Welcome to Power 4 Youth!

Power 4 Youth has been a vital presence in the community since 1999. Power 4 Youth provides one-on-one academic mentoring to middle and high school students from throughout the Long Beach area.  Over 400 at-risk, primarily low-income students have had their lives impacted through Power 4 Youth one-on-one mentoring relationships.

OUR MISSION STATEMENT

“Making the difference in the lives of at-risk students through caring, consistent mentoring relationships”

We believe that all youth deserve individual guidance from a caring, knowledgeable adult to help them achieve their potential.

WHAT WE DO

The goal of Power 4 Youth is to help middle and high school youth through addressing the broad issues that are keeping them from doing their best.  Mentors provide academic support, encourage academic achievement, and connect youth with caring adults.  The program is available to all students.  Student/Mentor pairs meet weekly for a minimum of one year at supervised locations throughout the area, with the average relationship lasting 2½ years, and many last into the student’s adulthood.

Mentors help the students to be prepared to be successful adults.  Historically, our outcomes have achieved this:

  • 2/3 of the students improve or maintain their grades after participating in the program
  • 90% of the youth show improvement in reading through participating in Power4Youth.
  • Besides improving grades and literacy skills, students work on college readiness, building social skills, and increasing community engagement.

HISTORY

Power 4 Youth began in response to the Los Angeles riots of the ’90s. A group of Long Beach ministers got together to try to understand what might have caused such a breakdown of community. They identified a need to help teens overcome adversity. In 1999 they began Power 4 Youth as a grassroots effort to reach kids “on the edge” – those who were not in trouble, but whose success depended on having a positive influence to balance the negative challenges they faced in their lives. The program began with six at-risk teens and six mentors, operating as a project of the Presbyterian Church. (Note: Though founded by the church, there is/has never been any religious, evangelical or proselytizing component).

Over the next 10 years the program steadily grew, becoming one of the largest mentoring programs in the area. This prompted a decision to incorporate Power 4 Youth as its own 501(c)3 nonprofit agency. Power 4 Youth was awarded its non-profit standing on October 23, 2008.

Today, Power 4 Youth meets at six sites, serving over 50 youth each week. Since beginning with those six youth, Power 4 Youth continues to grow, matching at-risk middle school youth with mentors to impact their lives for years to come.

FROM A STUDENT AND MENTOR PERSPECTIVE

The best way to describe the program is to hear from participants themselves.  One student, Kattie, put it this way:

I have been in Power 4 Youth for about two years and it has helped me A LOT. I no longer feel like I am alone in the world and that no one cares. I finally found someone who I can trust and who likes me for me. My grades have gone from D’s with two F’s to all B’s with an occasional A. I am also learning to overcome my fear of getting to know people and have made a number of new friends…I really like my mentor and I only wish I could have found her sooner.

Her mentor, Robin, continues:

I have been mentoring for almost two years…Kattie grades have improved, along with her overall outlook…She knows I care about her, not only scholastically, but also in everyday life. I’m very proud of her and the changes I’ve witnessed in this short time.

Kattie is just one of the young people Power 4 Youth is reaching through its mentoring program.

FAST FACTS
  • Established in 1999, Power 4 Youth has become one of the largest mentoring program the communities it serves.
  • Students join the program in middle school, but may continue throughout high school until graduation.
  • Power 4 Youth students and mentors meet weekly for 1½ hours. Pairs meet at regularly set times and days each week at supervised locations.
  • Although the program takes place at various church locations, there is no religious affiliation requirement, evangelical focus or proselytizing component. The program is available to all students.
  • The ethnic make-up of the students reflects the community: 47% Hispanic, 37% Black, 11% White and  and 5% Asian. Likewise, the adult volunteers come from varied professions, backgrounds and ethnicities.
  • Over 300 adults have had their lives changed through their relationship with a student in Power4Youth.