My involvement with JU4Y started back in 2016 as a volunteer when I moved back to Pomona to complete my undergraduate studies at Cal Poly Pomona. My passion and eagerness to give back to the city that I grew up in led me to connect with Eric Vasquez, the founder and Executive Director of the org who I now see as a mentor and friend. Through the variety of services (e.g., On-Point, Connect Nights, On-on-One mentoring) that JU4Y offers, I had the privilege to connect and mentor our at-promise youth on a variety of levels (e.g., individual, group) and settings (e.g., schools, community-at-large). I have seen firsthand how their holistic and lifelong approach to mentoring has positively impacted our students' lives. Some of my most memorable experiences with JU4Y has been our fútbol nights at Goals Soccer Center Pomona, Spoken Word night at Cafe con Libros, and college tour at CPP.
Not only has JU4Y mentored the at-promise youth, but they also mentor their volunteers and staff. JU4Y is an organization that elevates their volunteers and staff members by providing professional development. As my involvement with the JU4Y continued, I had the opportunity to serve as an advisory board member for a year and now as a member of the executive board. As a board member, I had the opportunity to work alongside the staff to develop new services and foster relationships with local organizations to enhance our holistic mentoring services. Amongst those services are the Transitional Age-Youth housing and college mentoring with our Project Rebound partnership.
I am grateful to JU4Y for providing the community that our students need! A community that listens and sees them; a community that walks alongside them through their failures and triumphs; a community that continues to believe and them when they may find it difficult to believe in themselves. To all staff, volunteers, donors, supporters, thank you! To our students, thank you for allowing us to be part of your lifelong journey.
I’m a former employee of JU4Y and now a lifetime convert of their mission, vision and values. The staff at JU4Y embodies their mission. During my first week, Eric, the org director had me visit schools up in the high desert to see first hand the students I’d be working with. As I watched him interact with students that day, I knew I was going to be a part of something special. The innovation, creativity, and drive of this org is infectious. I have no doubt that we’ll see JU4Y expand worldwide. This org holds a special place in my heart the students, community, donors, volunteers, and staff all make this world a brighter place.
Volunteering at JU4Y was such a great learning experience. It gave me the opportunity to expand my worldview and go beyond what I knew as my reality. In addition to that, it allowed me to feel like I had a purpose in life and that I could make a difference in youths life. Working with this organization gave me so much insight and access to amazing people who are so knowledgeable and have been working with youth for years. I was able to learn so much from them. Overall, this organization is so impactful, in the lives of their youth, volunteers and all those who they come across.
When I learned of this nonprofit 4 years ago I was automatically drawn in. Over the years I've learned from different mentors on their "why" and have seen how much it has grown over the years. I'm constantly in awe of their impact within the city and how quick they adapt to anything that's thrown their way. The amount of students who share their stories of impact is just amazing! I will continue to support and follow them in their growing journey!
Just Us 4 Youth is really in tune with the needs of our community through their relational connections and strong vision. They quickly respond to at-promise students' needs such as when shelter in place started and they rapidly pivoted to a robust remote connection system. I am very grateful and proud to support their work!
Through my work with foster and Probation youth, I have seen the work of Just Us 4 Youth firsthand. Its impact on the lives of youths and their families is transformative. The work of Just Us 4 Youth is a testament to the idea that relationships can change the trajectory of a youth's life. While caring appears to be at the heart of what they do, Just Us 4 Youth also provides a seemingly comprehensive array of services to support the student and his or her family.
Just Us 4 Youth is well respected among school administration and staff who have worked with them.
When we began this non-profit, we had a lot of dreams and aspirations but not much experience. I served as mentor in elem., middle and high schools, counselor, parent lead, and did admin work to help us get here. Today I work as a contractor doing varied duties. Although I have been a Social Worker, a mother, a Middle school teacher, nothing compared to this experience of mentoring/working for this org. I had to readjust my views, throw away my prejudices and push through my limitations in reaching hurting, broken, beautiful lives. Those youth we have come to love, and whom we have seen through some of their toughest years, have been worth knowing! They have changed us as much as we have helped them. Even at 65 years, I feel young and full of purpose at JU4Y!
Just Us 4 Youth fills a vital role in the community of Pomona, California, by working with at-promise youth. Its facilitators empower restorative justice conflict resolution and peace-making circles with students in many of Pomona's public schools. Ju4Y staff includes many students from our public schools, too! Because this approach is so "relational," and so responsive, the results are transformational. We're blessed that JU4Y is bringing peace to our children, their families, and our city.
Having served as a volunteer mentor to junior high aged girls, I saw firsthand the deep agony some are living with and how much a safe mentor can help as an offer of support and acceptance. Everyone at Just Us 4 Youth believes, sees, hears and encourages the students who engage with them. Not only do they offer mentoring and support circle in the schools, they work to find jobs, housing, better opportunities for those struggling with just surviving. This past year or so they have expanded their services to reach transitional aged youth, those moving out of foster care, and those teens seeking emancipation due to neglect and abuse. Young people learn how to live life on their own, yet not by their own, since Just Us 4 Youth mentors and volunteers walk alongside them on their journey to a successful and productive adulthood.
Founder and Director, Eric Vazquez, having come from a difficult and rebellious childhood, a teen touched by sibling death, drugs and gangs, he turned himself around with the help of God, his parents and caring adults. His redemption from death on the streets, is the model for his restorative programs and services through Just Us 4 Youth. They make a difference in the lives of thousands of students in the Pomona area .