Program Results

Here's the basic problem:  Young people in our own neighborhoods with nothing to do during after-school hours miss a valuable chance for growth and development. The odds are high that youth with nothing positive to do—and nowhere to go—will find things to do that negatively influence their development and their future.  They are more likely to be involved in violent crime, become exposed to gangs, experiment with drugs or alcohol, get involved in accidents, and even become pregnant.

Here are some facts:  After-school programs have proven to lower juvenile crime rates and generally improve neighborhoods—and not just because we're keeping youth occupied for a few hours everyday. After school programs help young people succeed by providing academic support and the chance to form meaningful relationships with adults from their community, and by encouraging them to get involved in their neighborhood through service projects. This support, these relationships and the benefits to the community, create a mutually beneficial relationship of immeasurable value.

Our solution:
 Our after-school program is built around a booklet: “How to Make Good Choices”. This booklet is designed and written for youth to teach them common sense guidelines to a happy life. It contains 21 chapters, each covering a specific tool to help them evaluate situations and make good decisions that will improve life for themselves and others.

We take the kids through each chapter, using examples and demonstrations, where they discover how to make good choices for themselves.  By engaging them and getting them to practice these concepts in their life, we help youth learn to make positive choices, and to understand how the choices they make have an effect on others.

Some of these guidelines are:

•  Be Drug Free
•  Love and Help Your Parents
•  Take Care of Yourself
•  Be Truthful
•  Set a Good Example

Our after-school program additionally covers drug education, crime and gang awareness, environmental awareness, sports practice, and even healthy eating habits.

The profound effect that our program has on the individual lives of those it touches is remarkable—even magical.  But to understand the power it has to change the future for these kids, read on.  We share with you here some successes, from the kids themselves.

Successes from the Kids:

"When I first came to the Good Choices Program, I thought it would be boring, so I only came for the pizza.  I then found out it wasn't about the food.  It was about a way to happiness and how to make good choices.  I learned never, and I mean never, to do drugs. I don't want to smoke or do drugs because I want to be a pro soccer player.  And I don't want to give that up just for drugs.  I want real happiness.  I don't want a fake happiness from getting high on drugs.  Nor do I want to drop out of school because of drugs.  Thank you, Good Choices!"  —JE

"I learned that when you make good choices, everything in the world seems more simple.  You can live your life to the fullest.  You can do what you want to do.  The people that come speak to us about making good choices always give me ideas, so that I make my own good choices.  This program can help young kids a lot to make good choices."  —RC

"I learned that doing drugs can hurt you. And that people can get arrested for doing drugs, which can then ruin your life.  I don't want to do that.  Since coming here, I've learned to make good choices, because in life, you either choose to take the right path, or the wrong path."  —CH

"From the book, I got that if you make good choices, you will be in happiness.  And if you do bad things, you will be in sadness."  —AG

"I learned that making good choices means being good by not stealing or committing crimes.  When the police woman spoke to us, she taught me to make good friends so that I can make good choices.  The drug rehab visitor taught me that drugs can ruin your life."  —NE

"Something I got out of the Good Choices Program was to not be disrespectful.  It also made my grades go up.  It has been very helpful."  —BM

"This program taught me to respect the elderly and to treat people that I don't like with respect. It got me to set a good example for my little brother.  At home, I cleaned our living room, my bedroom and even my mom's room."  —E.

"I learned stuff that I never thought about before.  Some of it I thought was silly, but after I thought about it, they were great tips.  I learned that I should help the environment, that I shouldn't steal, and that I shouldn't murder."  —CM

"I used to steal stuff, but now there's no need to steal. I was shown how friends can force you to smoke weed.  Now, I will never smoke weed and it's because of this program.  It has meant a lot to me and my life."  —LW

"I learned not to go in gangs, not to do drugs, and  to make good choices.  I learned to take care of myself, to not cheat on tests, and to respect each other."  —Maria C.

"What i learned this summer is to make good choices, brush your teeth, be drug-free, and set good examples.  Now I know how eat healthy and to stay in school  I learned to make my own choices and stay in school."   —Jasmine W.

"I learned to be good in school and to do my best in staying out of gangs and not doing drugs, because you will regret it later on in life."   —Vicente C.

"I used to think that gangs were cool and I wanted to get in one when I grew up.  But now that I came to this program, I don't want to join gangs anymore.  Thank you."   —Perla

"I learned that instead of doing drugs, drinking or joining a gang, you can join a basketball team or become a fireman… You could make the choice of going to prison… or becoming successful." 

"I am so glad that I found Community United and I hope we can stay a community for the many years to come.

"I am hoping that they can help more kids in the future and give them the same experiences that I had when I first found Community United.

"Thank you for everything you guys have done for me and everyone who is a part of this group.

"You guys are what makes everyone happy and safe!"

- VM 2017