Youth leadership program to join Boys and Girls Club

Tomorrow’s Leaders Today is joining forces with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Sonoma County.|

Three years ago, Social Advocates for Youth and Tomorrow’s Leaders Today merged the former’s housing, counseling and employment programming with the latter’s leadership, college and career readiness programs.

Thousands of Sonoma County youths benefited.

Now, Tomorrow’s Leaders Today is joining forces with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Sonoma County.

Boys & Girls Club CEO Jennifer Weiss called it a “natural fit.” She said the decision to move the program and its three staff members to her organization came as SAY’s focus shifted more to providing housing, employment and mental health services to youth, particularly with the opening of its Dream Center.

“We have the opportunity to really focus on the program and take all the amazing things that are happening and really grow it,” Weiss said.

She’d like to include more kids from low-income families in the program. About 80 percent of the 6,000 children her organization serves come from low-income families who could not afford the ?$650 fee for Tomorrow’s Leaders Today.

“Increasingly, students are requesting scholarship,” Weiss said. “To meet the demand we have to go out to the community.”

She said she hopes to leverage the clubs’ community support to raise money for the yearlong leadership program, which exposes high schoolers to government, business and other aspects of society.

“For the past 2½ years, SAY has been honored to work with the talented professionals in the TLT program,” SAY CEO Katrina Thurman said in a statement. “And we have loved adding their wisdom and energy to the SAY team, in addition to helping the program expand into West County in 2015.”

More than 150 students will graduate this month from the Tomorrow’s Leaders Today program.

Weiss said 220 students have been invited to participate in the program next year.

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