Save Our Youth (SOY) connects young people to hope through long-term mentoring relationships
The roots of Save Our Youth (SOY) took form in 1993 when violence among urban teens was pervading the country. In response, over 100 socially conscious agencies, urban churches, and non-profit organizations in the Denver Metro Area came together as a task force to address the prevailing problem of struggling youth. They recognized that underlying the grim realities of youth violence and drugs were hurting struggling young people who were crying out for wisdom and help for a better future. Like many individuals living in poverty, these at-risk youth displayed openness to encouragement and answers. Most importantly, the task force identified another common thread--that these youth were "disconnected" from caring adults who could provide stability, guidance, encouragement, and accountability.
After assessing the overall research and planning, it was decided that well-supervised mentoring relationships were the best solution to help these disconnected youth in need. In at-risk urban neighborhoods, the effects of broken families are further compounded by the realities of poverty. The educational, emotional, and spiritual needs of children are often overlooked and set the stage for poor life choices. "Mentoring can be an effective instrument to improve youth outcomes including: better attendance and attitude towards school, greater chances of obtaining higher education, less propensity to use alcohol and drugs, and increased social attitudes and relationships" (Hair, Jekielek, Moore & Scarupa. Mentoring: A promising Strategy for Youth Development, 2002).
In 1995, SOY was established to provide one-on-one mentoring for at-risk youth in Denver. SOY recruited adults who would guide and grow urban youth toward educational, emotional and spiritual health.