"These kids are our future," said SOY board member Jean Forbath, who helped start SOY and is the co-founder of another Costa Mesa-based nonprofit, Share Our Shelves (SOS). "If we want a safe, vibrant community, we need to invest in these kids who have so much to offer and just need a little extra push, a little extra care, to become vibrant members, and productive members, of their own community.
"These are kids who have tremendous potential, and they just need to get a sense of themselves as being valuable and empowered."
It pays to go to school
SOY's after-school program serves about 400 students, about 125 of whom are in its academic program.
The nonprofit accepts children from all backgrounds, though it primarily helps students from the low-income Westside neighborhoods, said Academic Coordinator Silvia Rosales.