Emmy Award-winning anchor and reporter Blanca Garza visited with several of the program participants and members of our program team at Andrew Hill High School, one of our partner school sites. Parents and youth shared how being part of FAST has affected their lives, and Program Manager Alicia Garcia Escobedo spoke to why we are so invested in this work. Principal Jose H. Hernandez also spoke with Ms. Garza about how well the FAST Program helps to advance his goals for the school community.
Click to view the story on Telemundo’s site.
We have been offering the FAST Program, which uses the research-based Families and Schools Together model, since 1993 and pioneered the adaptation of the model for families who primarily speak Spanish at home. In 2012, in response to the rise in youth gang violence, we shifted the program from area elementary schools to high schools. Today, we offer services in partnership with Andrew Hill High, Independence High, and Yerba Buena High, all in east San Jose.
The FAST Program model is widely recognized for its effectiveness in engaging and empowering at-risk youth to make positive life choices and in strengthening families. It has been named a Promising Program by the Center for Mental Health Services, a Model Program by the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP), a Model Program by Strengthening America’s Families, and an Exemplary Program by Title V (Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention/OJJDP, U.S. Department of Justice). Our program is actively engaged in the City of San Jose Mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Force.
The model is unique in making a two-year commitment to youth and their families and in engaging youth as program leaders and role models.
The Teen FAST curriculum increases self-esteem, improves students’ academic engagement, increases pro-social engagement, develops peer support networks, and strengthens family functioning. We have augmented the curriculum with expanded education about gangs, the juvenile justice system, the effects of traumatic events, and skill-building in wellness and self-care.
Our thanks to the funders of the Teen FAST Program, who make possible our free and comprehensive services: the Cisco Foundation, the City of San Jose B.E.S.T. Program, Kaiser Permanente Northern California Community Benefit Programs, the Leo M. Shortino Family Foundation, and the Morrison & Foerster Foundation.