The mission of SOAR is to encourage young adults to invest in their future, helping them to become responsible and motivated advocates for their life.
Growing up, SOAR's Founder and Executive Director, Chantae Thomas wished she had someone to guide her through some of her life experiences that were more challenging and seemed overwhelming as a teenager. She grew up in a loving home, raised by her father, who was a single-parent and did a wonderful job supporting his children and family. What she lacked was a positive female role model to support what she didn't know and couldn't find out. She stumbled through several life challenges and experiences that may have turned out differently if she had someone to speak into her life with a supportive and encouraging lens. This is what drove Chantae to focus on a career goal of supporting women's health. She loved a lifetime show called "Strong Medicine" which in its prime was focused on helping inner city women, in a community center setting, who needed access to mental, physical and emotional health support. Out of high school, Chantae went to a HBCU, Xavier University of Louisiana, and studied Biology Pre-Med with the goal to open up a women's health clinic that would have a strong emphasis on young girls as they transitioned into womanhood. As Chantae continued her journey she became pregnant with her first child, a beautiful baby boy. She soon realized that young men had their own struggles and wanted to support what this meant for them as well, especially young men of color. Eventually transitioning from a Pre-Med focus to Psychology led her to work at Excelsior Youth Center for 8 years. It is then that she founded SOAR to support the gaps in services that she witnessed as youth transitioned into the community. While working to get SOAR started Chantae was offered an opportunity to become a Program Director for a start-up organization, based out of Austin, located in Denver. This program worked exclusively with the juvenile justice system. The gaps in treatment that she witnessed led her to want to pursue her dream of success with SOAR even more strongly, with the vision to create a space where youth of color felt safe to speak, to experience, to learn, and to grow around those who looked like them and could give them the opportunity to pursue the dreams and goals that their environments may not be able to provide. Since then SOAR has grown into an organization that is known for working outside of the box with our youth and using an innovative and comprehensive approach. The vast majority of the youth in SOAR programming have been involved, to some extent, with the juvenile justice system and are getting back on track with guided support from SOAR. Youth charges can range anywhere from truancy to sexual offense to homicide.
After 3 months of being in SOAR programming:
80% of families indicate that the client is making significant progress for the reason they were referred to SOAR.
75% indicated that the SOAR staff member is very effective in helping the client accomplish the goals discussed at their initial one-on-one session.
100% of families indicate that the client is anywhere from satisfied to very satisfied with the SOAR paired staff member and the work they are doing with the client.