Leadership Excellence has an impact on youth and the community that can’t go unnoticed. Our uplifting story of youth transformation, awareness, and education has been chronicled both at home and nationally, in newspapers, government and non-profit publications, and more. LE has also been recognized by organizations across the country for our successes in working with high-risk youth.
Comprehensive evaluations from the Oakland Fund for Children and Youth afforded both our children’s and youth programs with “exceptional” ratings in several categories, including youth and parent satisfaction, program design, and cost-effectiveness. The Ford Foundation cited LE as a national model for engaging youth with high-level barriers to success, such as exposure to drug addiction, intense poverty, and low self-esteem. We were also cited as a model program in the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity’s national publication on youth development and structural racism. We have been featured in the Oakland Tribune and nominated for the San Francisco Foundation’s Community Organization award by Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson.
In our years of working with high-risk youth, LE has become a national model for relationship building. Social Policy Research Associates (SPRA) evaluated our participation in the Ford Foundation’s three-year Youth Leadership and Development Institute (YLDI), and further documented LE’s role in increasing “youths’ ability to navigate risky behaviors and make healthier lifestyle choices that increase their well-being.” The report states: “Almost half of youth (40%) report consistently using positive coping strategies as a result of participating in Leadership Excellence, and more than two-thirds avoid resorting to negative coping strategies (69%).” Leadership Excellence students who were suspended in 2005-06 were less likely than other OUSD (Oakland Unified School District) students to be suspended again in 2006-07 for both violent and non-violent offenses. Leadership Excellence students who were truant in 2005-06 were less likely than other OUSD students to be truant again in 2006-07 and also had fewer absences during the 2006-07 school year.
Of the 74 school-age clients, only 3 percent were reported as having been suspended, and none had been expelled. The reported suspension numbers are lower than those found in the OUSD data.