Freedom 4 Youth mobilizes resources within the community to ensure that community members have access to fundamental needs before anything else. Mutual aid efforts include assistance with transitional and affordable housing applications and placements, regular food distributions, a large inventory of free clothing of all styles for all ages, peer-to-peer mentorship support, community service projects, collaborative advocacy efforts alongside our community network.
Staff, mentors, and youth frequently engage in community service programs. Youth are empowered with the tools to design and execute their own community service projects. Examples include raising funds to provide Holiday gifts to children in local shelters, performing a youth-created play for seniors in assisted care facilities, landscaping and cleaning seniors homes, implementing a pen pal program for individuals on Death Row, planting community gardens, painting inspirational messages on rocks and leaving them in parks that are notorious for violence, and preparing and passing out meals and essentials kits (socks, blankets, jackets, snacks, water) for individuals that are experiencing houselessness. Furthermore, we participate in quarterly beach clean-ups in Goleta and Santa Barbara, have conducted several voter registration drives (including registering people in SB County Jail), sit on the local Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council, and are currently working with Healing Justice Santa Barbara and other local organizers to demand that SB City Council and County Board of Supervisors reallocate funding from law enforcement into community-led services and create a civilian review board. Youth who complete community service programming create a mutual support system and positive peer associations, build leadership, and strengthen the connection to their community through civic engagement opportunities. The outcomes often include reduced recidivism rates, long-term rewards including successful completion of probation and pursuit of college education, and opportunities to return as a Freedom 4 Youth mentor.