Every year teens who fail to succeed in San Francisco's public high schools find new pathways to graduate and begin their adult lives by attending Youth Chance High School, a program of the Embarcadero YMCA. In 2011, we asked two volunteers to help us decorate the gym for our annual graduation event. When we gave them a tour of the gym where the event is held, they were obsessed by the light and didn't talk much about decor. We were perplexed until they called the next day and said they wanted to film the event for all to see. They did a beautiful job with this video. And they even helped design how we decorated the gym.
Each year, principals, parole offi cers, counselors, teachers, parents and program alumni refer students who need a fresh start to the safe, supportive environment at Youth Chance High School. The students come from very low-income families and more than half have been in the juvenile justice system and/or foster care
system. At Youth Chance, these high-risk, inner-city youth earn a diploma while gaining academic, vocational and life skills necessary to become self-sufficient, socially responsible young adults. Given the multiple challenges these students face, earning a high school diploma is a monumental achievement.
Exercise Made for People with Disabilities (EMPWD) began as a community based outpatient rehabilitation program at St. Mary's Hospital led by Nils Jorgensen. The Embarcadero YMCA embraced the program as its own in 2001. In recent years the program has seen a growth spurt with the addition of a mixed-ability group exercise class (quad rugby) on Saturday afternoons.
We asked two volunteers to help us decorate the gym for our annual graduation event at 34-year-old Youth Chance High School, a program of the Embarcadero YMCA. All they would comment on was the way the light filtered in the gym. We were perplexed until they called the next day and said they wanted to film the event for all to see. This short version of our longer nine-minute video about the program and the graduation lays it all out. And they even helped design how we decorated the gym.