Over 1.8 million nonprofits and charities for donors, volunteers and funders

First Place for Youth

3,895 pageviews

Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Employment Preparation & Procurement, Homeless & Housing, Human Services, Job Training, Temporary Housing, Youth Development Programs

Mission: The mission of First Place is to help foster kids build the skills they need to make a successful transition to self-sufficiency and responsible adulthood.

Results: Since being founded in 1998, First Place for Youth has helped nearly 10,000 young people build the skills for bright, successful futures. In 2018:

  • 93% of My First Place participants transition to a stable home after completing the program.
  • 98% of MFP youth earned or were working toward their high school diploma/GED.
  • 87% of college-eligible MFP participants enroll in post-secondary programs.
  • 84% of MFP participants obtained employment while in our program.
When compared to foster youth who do not receive transition support, First Place youth are:
  • Five times less likely to experience homelessness
  • Three times less likely to give birth before the age of 21
  • Three times less likely to be arrested
  • Twice as likely to graduate from high school
  • Six times more likely to be enrolled in college, and
  • Twice as likely to be employed

Target demographics: foster youth ages 16 to 24

Direct beneficiaries per year: 1,697

Geographic areas served: San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles, with partnerships in MA, MS, and NY

Programs: The organization's cornerstone program, My First Place, is a scattered-site transitional housing program that provides stability and skill-development services for current and former foster youth, ages 18 to 24. Participants receive safe housing coupled with the intensive services necessary to achieve long-term self-sufficiency. Supports address multiple dimensions of need, including individualized case management, move-in assistance and supplies, roommate mediation, education and vocational counseling, life skills training, and community support.

 

Within My First Place is Steps to Success, an education and employment program that provides intensive one-on-one counseling and support to assist participants in achieving their education and career goals. Youth receive intensive, targeted academic supports, including remediation and tutoring as needed, to help them take tangible steps towards completing high school, enrolling or progressing in post-secondary education, or obtaining an industry-recognized certificate. In addition, the program supports youth with employment assistance, career exploration and planning, and in building their workplace skills, including job search and retention strategies.

 

For foster youth ages 16 to 21, First Place manages the Independent Living Skills Programs (ILSP) in San Francisco and Solano Counties. Through ILSP, youth have access to a range of services, including education and employment assistance, career development, family finding and permanency services, life skills workshops and community events. They also have the option of enrolling in First Foundation, a structured high school completion program beginning in 10th grade and providing one-on-one supports, educational and social skills workshops, and regular check-ins the ensure youth are progressing toward on-time graduation.

Community Stories

17 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Jen W.2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

First Place for Youth believes that every youth -- most particularly those transitioning out of foster care -- can reach their fullest potential. They provide the highest quality services to their young people, and have created an innovative approach to ensuring that youth transitioning out of foster care have what they need to attend college, get jobs, and live independently. There are very few organizations who provide this kind of service, while also honoring the brightness and potential in their young people. As a result, the youth involved with FPFY are positive and empowered. They take responsibility for their path in life.

Additionally, the Board and staff are of exceptional talent and intelligence, and have the ability not only to run a successful non-profit organization, but also to scale it nationally, and to raise the necessary funds in order to do so. Their passion for foster care youth enables them not only to execute well, but to do so with a sense of purpose and conviction.

I have worked with and donated to several non-profit organizations, and First Place for Youth stands among the best. I recommend them whole-heartedly and will continue to support their efforts in as many ways as I can. I feel better knowing FPFY exists - not only for the young people they serve - but also for our community that so needs organizations like this one to embolden the next generation.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I've worked with many direct service nonprofits across the country in roles as a funder, volunteer, board member, and employee and First Place is by far one of the most data-driven and strategic organizations I have ever encountered. First Place leadership and staff are deeply committed to improving life trajectories of transition-age foster youth, and do so by continuously improving and honing their data-driven and holistic program model. First Place has been recognized nationally for its innovative work using real-time data to inform and improve the services youth receive and is considered a field leader. Its current work partnering with organizations and governments across the country to improve services and policies for youth is particularly exciting. First Place inspires me!

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a professional in the field of nonprofit evaluation and strategy for over 20 years who also has been an observer of First Place for Youth for more than 10 years, I can confidently state that this is a standout organization because of its laser focus on achieving excellent outcomes for transition-age foster youth. First Place is a premier example of using data to drive performance and continuous improvement, ensuring that every dollar invested in First Place contributes to impact. The organization's vision and strategy -- to eliminate the disparities in life outcomes between foster youth and their non-foster peers -- are profoundly inspiring; and, if any organization can achieve such an audacious goal, it's First Place.

Review from Guidestar

Board Member

Rating: 5

After volunteering with a couple of different Bay Area non-profits over the years and feeling frustrated by what felt like a lack of impact, I heard about First Place for Youth. This organization is inspirational. FP works on the root causes of critical issues and helps those most in need in our communities. The youth served are given a hand up (not "out"), so that they can achieve the same level of sustainable success as their peers who grew up with more stable family support. FP's approach is holisitic, validated with data and the stories shared by the youth they've supported over the years. I'm very proud to be a part of this important and meaningful work.

Andrew M.3

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am currently a board member at First Place for Youth after learning about the organization from other volunteers, donors, and former board members. I have been very impressed with the organization's management, staff, program participants, fellow board members, and supporters. First Place serves young people transitioning out of foster care, providing housing and counseling to enhance life skills, education and employment. First Place employs rigorous data collection and analysis to track its results and to determine what works and what doesn't. The young people in the program are inspiring, and the senior and direct line staff are very dedicated. I would encourage anyone with an interest in helping foster youth to help themselves to learn about and to support the work of First Place for Youth.

7

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 2

The staff at First Place are highly qualified and dedicated, and the organization is well intentioned. There are some serious problems however, which are masked by misleading and selective outcomes reporting. The often quoted educational outcome for example, which reports the percentage of youth who enroll in an educational program as a marker of success, is vague and misleading. This percentage represents only the percentage of youth who enroll -- as in sign up for a class, usually with strong assistance from a staff member -- at a Community College or vocational program. This percentage does not represent the number of youth who graduate from an educational program, nor the number of youth who even complete the course for which they signed up. Similarly, the percentage of youth who exit to stable housing upon leaving the program, which is touted as another measure of success, is again vague and misleading. Stable housing may include living with a family member, and could in fact be the exact same housing situation a youth was in prior to entering the program. So a youth who was living with a relative enters program, receives a rental subsidy and lives in an apartment for 2 years. Upon exit, that youth returns to live with the same family member. This is certainly better and more stable than homelessness or an unaffordable rental situation, but should not be portrayed as a positive outcome since it represents no actual change.

More inclusive, comprehensive and transparent outcomes would paint a more complete and detailed picture programs, and would help the organization identify and address areas for improvement.

6

Former staff

Rating: 2

As a former staff member I have a different insight on the agency. I truly believe the CEO Sam Cobbs is great leader and wants to continue to grow this organization into something great. The problem is that some of his executive team do not have the experience or knowledge that staff can believe or rely in. There is so much disconnect between the upper management and staff that it affects the staff's ability to be able to effectively serve the youth and it keeps the moral down. The outcomes are not real but an illusion that the organization needs to create to call itself the model for transitional housing. I enjoyed working with the youth and being a part of their lives but I was not able to provide them the real services they needed. Sam needs to stop creating job titles for senior management and fire and hire competent human resource recruiter who can then fire and hire the people who can really manage the organization. Until that time the youth will just continue to be placed high cost apartments they can never afford to keep and sit two years with baby sitter like I was who created case notes all night trying to convince my manager I was being effective in a youth's life.

26

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a participating youth in program right now. First Place really offers good services to help youth with housing, helping us to get jobs, go to college, everything. I really like my youth advocate. She is really helpful and is always there to talk to me about housing issues or anything. She is just someone I can talk to no matter what. Just last week, my youth advocate and the education/employment coordinator took me on a field trip to the local fire department after I said I was interested in becoming a firefighter. It was really cool because I got to go out on a real emergency call and talk with people that actually do the work. First Place does a LOT for the youth and I am very lucky to be part of program.

23

Client Served

Rating: 5

FPFY is a wonderful program that has helped me budget bills and to save my money and has helped me get into my apartment. I'm so thankful to have my own bedroom a place where I can cook dinner and relax. Not only am I a participate with FPFY I'm also an employee. I'm happy with the people who have entered my life, when I first entered program I didn't have a mother now I have 12 who help and guide me with my personal life.

Previous Stories
1

Client Served

Rating: 4

I appreciate FPFY helping with budgeting bills and help with food vouchers and transportations. I truly like the support from having no mother to having 12 mothers who have helped in all areas of my life. Not only am I a participate but a employee of FPFY. I really like the family environment, it helps with discussing issues.

28 Trav.B

Client Served

Rating: 5

Well first place is a good program to get a great start in life. They have one on one help for jobs and resumes to help you get a job and complete your goals in life. Successful or not it the best way to save money and meet knew people. Note: learn to budget money, Build your credit with pg&e, learn to live in a new envionment,they set u up to live in good neighborhood. Youth Advocate to attend to your needs 24/7 hot line if needed.

27

Client Served

Rating: 5

I really love what First Place has done for my child and I. I like their many programs in one and how they love to help youth reach their goals. All of the staff are loving and caring. Special thanks to Deidre Goree. I really have a place for you in my heart. Lonisha

27

Volunteer

Rating: 4

First place for youth is a all around wonderful program i myself is a alumni of the program and now an employee. so for me first place is not just a housing program but a career opportunities as well. i give all the thumbs up!!!!!!

20

Client Served

Rating: 5

First Place staff support really helps youth. The fact that they help your organize a plan for your goals and help you accomplish them is the greatest.

22

Client Served

Rating: 5

I'm a current First Place participant emancipating from program in July and I must say that First Place has been such a SAVIOR for me! I, honestly, don't even want to think about what would have happened to me after I emancipated from the system without FP. I'd been in the system since I was 4 years old, had no experience whatsoever in supporting myself and was not even close to ready to live on my own. First Place taught me the most findamental things I needed to know to support myself like how to create a budget and manage my money. They showed me how to enroll in classes and financial aid and how to find work. They offered workshops for all of these things... Actually the job I currently have (working at Safeway) I found through the Safeway Orientation workshop held at the FP office and I've just been recommended for my first promotion! They also gave me a Youth Advisor with whom I've created a trusting bond with to help me with the struggles of being independant. My FPYA has helped me in so many ways with my personal life and learning how to live independantly such as balancing work and play and prioritizing correctly so I can get my stuff taken care of. I sincerely believe that every county in the state, if not the entire country, should have a program like First Place. They have helped me so much in these past two years and, in July, I know that I will be ready to move into my own as a self sufficient, independant adult. THANK YOU FIRST PLACE! -Albert

3

Client Served

Rating: 1

The programs design to help foster youth with housing and other services is great. Im a former First place youth and the actual design is not what happens. I was placed in an apartment and was told my youth avocate would meet with me once a week but I was without a avocate for 3 months. First place regional manager told me it was due to miscommunication. I dont think it should of happened and they are a business and not communicating internal is bad. Overall I had housing at a reduced rent for a year and that was excellent and Im working on my second year of college. With first places help I was able to go to school fulltime and work part time and now Im in my own apartment without first place help. Im happy I had the year with the reduced rent.

19 Cassandra

Board Member

Rating: 5

I've been on the Board for one year now, and been a donor to First Place for more than five. I began supporting them because of my work with homeless adults and discovering that more than half of them had been part of the foster care system as children! At 18, foster youth lose all financial and empotional support from the State and are expected to be able to make it on their own - the reality is most don't even have their high school diplomas yet and many become homeless, teen parents, and/or involved in criminal activities. First Place provides the practical and caring support that many of us received from our parents to help these youth transition to adulthood and self-sufficiency. The staff are great champions for the youth, and the peer counselors help the young people to see that they really can change their lives. Although I'm impressed with the staff, program, and outcome measures, it is meeting the youth in the program that has inspired me most.