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Hip Hop Open Mic | February 16th | 6-8:30pm | Mars Hill Coffeehouse Hollister, CA


You are cordially invited to join us for Youth Alliance’s Hip Hop Open Mic on February 16th from 6-8:30pm at Mars Hill Coffeehouse located at 610 San Benito Street, Hollister, CA. Join us for a fun-filled night of youth performances featuring beatboxing, spoken word, breakdancing, freestyle, and hip hop! All performance will also come with a social message and is part of YA’s Youth Listening Campaign to promote youth voice and expression. You won’t want to miss this event. Special thanks to Mars Hill Coffeehouse for hosting Youth Alliance.



Complete the Online Youth Survey!


As a member of Dignity in Schools California, Youth Alliance is participating in the DSC California’s inaugural Statewide Week of Action! The theme this year is “Education is a human right. We will not give up the fight!”. DSC CA members throughout the state will be having events all week long that look at rethinking safety in schools. YA is launching the Youth Listening Campaign starting on Monday, October 23 through January 31, with the “GUIAS” lunch time event to be held at San Benito High School.

As a means to understand the needs of our students, with your support and in partnership with San Benito High School, YA will be creating an online student survey. This survey is open to the community and YA encourages students to complete it as part of its Youth Listening Campaign and to gather as much student input as possible. All students completing the online survey will be entered in a raffle for a laptop and various gift certificates. All feedback is completely confidential and will be used to advocate for youth and education supports in our community.

The survey will be made available online via Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and by clicking the following link:








Restorative Justice Teach-In


Youth Alliance is participating in the National Week of Action from October 23-28 and is hosting a series of events to raise awareness about youth and education. The Week of Action provides students, administrators and the community to have a dialogue about education issues such as school climate, safety, and youth supports like social emotional learning.


Please RSVP HERE to attend our Restorative Justice Teach-In on Wednesday, October 25, 2017 at San Andreas Continuation School.


National Week of Action Flyer

Thank You to our 2017 Change Makers Sponsors


Thank you to our current 2017 Change Makers Sponsors! Your support shows your commitment to advancing a brighter future for San Benito and Santa Clara County youth.  Your generosity makes an incredible difference in our ability to keep our programs free and available for vulnerable and disadvantaged families. Thank you!

For sponsorship opportunities please contact Eduardo Navarro at eddy@youthall.org or give us a call at 831.636.2853.

To purchase tickets to our event please click HERE.



Sponsorship levels are offered at the tiers below and will provide expanding levels of recognition, logo opportunities, and program recognition.

LEAD $4,000

• Prominent Sponsor Recognition at Event and Name and Logo Placement throughout Reception
• Recognition on all Marketing Collateral, Press Releases, and Social Media
• Extensive publicity via traditional and social media platforms before and after event
• Reserved Table for 10 Guests
• Recognition on YA Website
• Acknowledgement on Change Makers’ Event Signage
• Table Recognition
• Event Program Recognition
• Sponsor mention by Emcee

CONNECT $2,000

• Reserved Table for 10 Guests
• Recognition on YA Website
• Acknowledgement on Change Makers’ Event Signage
• Table Recognition
• Event Program Recognition
• Sponsor mention by Emcee

GROW $1,000

• Acknowledgement on Change Makers’ Signage
• Table Recognition
• Event Program Recognition
• Sponsor mention by Emcee
• 6 Event Tickets


• Event Program Recognition
• Sponsor mention by Emcee
• 2 Event Tickets

Interested in being a sponsor? Contact Eddy Navarro at eddy@youthall.org or give us a call at 831.636.2853.

Change Makers Gala 2017 – SAVE THE DATE!

Change Makers Event, 2017

September 16, 2017 – SAVE THE DATE!

Our marquee fundraising event will be held at the Gilroy Gardens Pavilion, 3050 Hecker Pass Hwy, Gilroy, CA 95020. View Venue Map

Reception & Mariachi begin at 5:30pm, and the event goes until 10:00pm.

Sponsorships and tickets available! Contact Eduardo at eddy@youthall.org.

To purchase tickets, click HERE or the link below:


This year’s event is not to be missed and will include live entertainment, dinner and dancing. A celebration of Change Makers (like yourself), and a special recognition of a nominated community member for their outstanding and exemplary work. Through our donors, sponsors, and volunteers, the Youth Alliance helps effect change and create a more aspiring and engaging community for our youth; as well as raises critical funds to sustain our outreach and highly needed support services in Gilroy, Morgan Hill and San Benito County.

Special Thanks to our 2017 Change Makers Sponsors

LEAD Sponsors

Gilroy Gardens



GROW Sponsors


ENGAGE Sponsors

Sponsorship levels are offered at the tiers below and will provide expanding levels of recognition, logo opportunities, and program recognition.

LEAD $4,000

• Prominent Sponsor Recognition at Event and Name and Logo Placement throughout Reception
• Recognition on all Marketing Collateral, Press Releases, and Social Media
• Extensive publicity via traditional and social media platforms before and after event
• Reserved Table for 10 Guests
• Recognition on YA Website
• Acknowledgement on Change Makers’ Event Signage
• Table Recognition
• Event Program Recognition
• Sponsor mention by Emcee

CONNECT $2,000

• Reserved Table for 10 Guests
• Recognition on YA Website
• Acknowledgement on Change Makers’ Event Signage
• Table Recognition
• Event Program Recognition
• Sponsor mention by Emcee

GROW $1,000

• Acknowledgement on Change Makers’ Signage
• Table Recognition
• Event Program Recognition
• Sponsor mention by Emcee
• 6 Event Tickets


• Event Program Recognition
• Sponsor mention by Emcee
• 2 Event Tickets

Interested in being a sponsor? Contact Eddy Navarro at eddy@youthall.org or give us a call at 831.636.2853.


Please help Youth Alliance keep programs available for children and teens in Gilroy, Morgan Hill and San Benito County!

Every day is a good day to give to YA! Please see below for donation opportunities.

You can make a difference! San Benito GIVES online fundraiser is now through May 16, 2017

While this fundraising’s limited-time incentives have ended, we still invite you to support our organization with a charitable donation.

Every day is a good day to give to YA! Please see below for donation opportunities.

Just $10 can make a difference for the youth in San Benito!

Better Lives Through Giving Join us for a 24-hr online fundraiser starting now through May 16th

Please help Youth Alliance keep programs available for children and teens in San Benito, Gilroy, and Morgan Hill!

$10 Makes a Difference! Donate today at: https://www.razoo.com/story/YouthAll

Mejorar Vida’s a travez de la Donación Acompáñenos en esta campaña en linea las 24hrs hasta el 16 de mayo del 2017.

Por favor apoye a Youth Alliance mantener nuestros programas activos para niños/niñas y jóvenes en San Benito, Gilroy, y Morgan Hill!

$10 Hace la diferencia! Done hoy en: https://www.razoo.com/story/YouthAll

Youth Alliance Honored by the 2016 California Peace Award!

California Peace Award 2016

Youth Alliance Receives the 2016 California Peace Award


Youth Alliance was awarded the California Peace Award at National Night Out on August 2, 2016.  Asm. Luis Alejo’s representative, Javier Gomez, congratulated Executive Director, Diane Ortiz and the YA team for its contribution to the success and sustainability of programs and outreach that “enhance the community’s quality for the entire population and instill a great sense of pride in those individuals associated with” YA. In addition, YA was honored for “its exemplary record of civic engagement and community service,” all while acknowledging the importance of investing in our youth as prominent leaders of our community. YA is committed to investing and empowering these young leaders as agents of change not only for themselves but for their community as a whole. YA is on the forefront of our communities’ social uplifting–providing a much more socially conscious narrative in which our youth are seen as leaders and role-models for the rest of the community.


“YA is proud to be honored for investing in local youth for over 20 years. Our entire community benefits from our youth leaders when they are living proof that investing in their education and life success truly works.” – Diane Ortiz, Executive Director

Tech Wizards | Teen & Adult Mentors Needed

There is a great opportunity with the University of California Division of Agriculture & Natural Resources and Youth Alliance to guide and mentor 3rd and 4th grade students through hands-on science activities. Tech Wizards is looking for committed individuals who are able to take on a weekly, year long commitment to make a difference in the lives of young children through mentoring.

Mentor benefits include: Training & experience, earning community service hours, monthly bus pass, free t-shirt and a letter of recommendation.

Where & When: 

  • Calaveras Elementary (Hollister) | Thursdays | 4:30pm – 6:30pm
  • RO Hardin Elementary (Hollister) | Wednesdays | 4:30pm – 6:30pm
  • Glen View Elementary (Gilroy) | Thursdays | 4:30pm – 6:30pm

Join us at Orientation:

• Thursday, February 16, 2016 | 9:00am – 10:30am | Youth Alliance Office | 310 4th Street, #101 | Hollister


• Thursday, February 16, 2016 | 2:00pm – 3:30pm | Wheeler Gym (next to Gilroy Library) | 250 W. 6th Street | Gilroy

RSVP Contact:

Rosio Valadez | rosio@youthall.org | 831.673.9611 (mobile)



‘Destined for great things’

“I am a leader.” “I am not ghetto.” “I am not incapable of being interested in mathematics and the sciences.” “I am destined for great things.” As part of a new school reform campaign, a statewide coalition of students from low-income families is posting statements on Twitter and Facebook that are both poignant and backed by research about system change: If you want schools to improve, they say, believe in us.

The student statements are one element of a campaign to upend stereotypes, support teachers who work with students from diverse backgrounds and urge schools to create communities where it is understood that all students can succeed. The campaign, organized by the advocacy group Californians for Justice and its Student Voice project, was launched at a kickoff event at Roosevelt Middle School in Oakland this month that included a keynote address by Lupita Cortez Alcalá, California’s deputy superintendent, and a panel discussion with Gordon Jackson, director of student services for the California Department of Education. A Long Beach launch event is scheduled for Nov. 19.

Click Here to read the complete article…

My School My Rights

Last week the ACLU of California’s Education Team launched www.myschoolmyrights.com  a website and advocacy campaign dedicated towards ensuring that every California student knows their rights when it comes to education. In California, one out of five students does not graduate from high school within the four years despite the fact that EVERY CALIFORNIA STUDENT HAS A RIGHT TO AN EDUCATION. Let’s all support the ACLU’s campaign to STOP THE PUSH-OUT of California students by educating youth about their rights.

Please help us educate and empower California students:

  1. Share www.MySchoolMyRights.com on Facebook, Twitter, and with all the youth you know!
  2. Share the student macros and memes on the My School My Rights website on your social media accounts to promote student rights and the My School My Rights campaign.
  3. Talk to your youth about their rights and print any of the downloadable PDFs on their site that explain important areas of student rights.

On September 14, 2015, a Texas high school freshman Ahmed Mohamed was led away from campus in handcuffs and suspended for three days for bringing a homemade digital clock to school. The announcement of the website’s launch contends that Ahmed’s story is a reminder that we must support our students and their rights.

By visiting www.MySchoolMyRights.com, or on our Mobile Justice App., California students can learn about their specific rights related to:

Students can also read powerful stories of other California students whose rights were violated at school and their efforts to take action.

Chill Out & Living Above the Influence featured in Morgan Hill Life

To see the original article in Morgan Hill Life, click here

Nonprofit profile: ‘Living Above The Influence’ brings support for local families

Peers unite to help others navigate the influences of life

Published in the Sept. 16-29, 2015 issue of Morgan Hill Life

By Marty Cheek

Photo by L&B Photography Participants release balloons in memory of loved ones during 2014’s Living Above The Influence event.

In 2007, Dori Prado’s daughter faced one of the struggles that challenge many teenagers. The 14-year-old girl confessed to Prado she had started smoking marijuana. Prado grew scared about the drug use and started blaming the friends her daughter was hanging out with for influencing her life in this direction. After some soul searching, she decided to give up the judgment and find a way to help the young people in the Morgan Hill community.

Dori told her father, Steve Prado, a one-time heroin addict who had turned his life around and became an alcohol and drug counselor, about the situation. The two decided to put on a workshop at Sobrato High School. Steve went to Dori’s daughter’s classroom to talk to the students… but it didn’t seem to be enough.

Dori then came up with the idea of putting on a friendly barbecue at Morgan Hill’s Community Park and inviting her daughter’s teenage friends to come and discuss how to face together life challenges such as drugs, gangs and prison that many young people encounter.

“We thought we’d have about 15, 20 kids. We had 75 people come that year,” Dori recalled. “It really inspired me to do it again. Right before that first year, my heart did soften about these kids. And I was thinking: what kind of homes do they come from? I know I’m trying to do the best for my daughter, and still I feel she’s out of control, right? What kind of homes are these kids coming from? Do they have the support at home?”


That park barbecue evolved into a community outreach event that has grown in popularity with hundreds of local young people and families. They gathered every October at either Community or Galvan parks to listen to the stories of young people who have overcome the temptations of drugs, alcohol and gangs, or deal with abuse or depression.

The 9th annual Living Above The Influence event will be held Oct. 10 at the Community and Cultural Center’s plaza.

“Living Above the Influence has really evolved into a community event that gathers resources for the community and gets speakers to give their testimonies that are encouraging and motivating,” Dori said. “It’s real life. These are things that are happening in our community youth and adults. A mother losing her kids to the system because of her own drug addiction. How does she overcome that? We do whatever we can to draw in the community.”

This year, bags of groceries will be given to the first 100 attendees. There will also be entertainment from the Mexican-America Azteca Dancers, rap singers, and poetry readings from young people. To make the day an extra fun celebration, participants can also win raffle prizes such as tickets to Gilroy Gardens Theme Park.

“Someone asked me, ‘Isn’t it like you’re trying to bribe the people to come?’ and I say, ‘Absolutely, I want them to come. I want them to hear these stories,’” Dori said. “And hopefully it touches their heart and helps them to make changes in their life if they’re struggling with those issues. And if they’re not struggling but they know somebody who is, maybe they can help that person out.”

Among the nearly 40 resource agencies that will be available for participants to meet is the nonprofit group Advent Youth Ministries which runs two homes in Morgan Hill for teenage boys and girls to stay at while they heal their lives. At the Living Above The Influence last year, the stories told were so powerful that a boy who was hooked on heroin and prescription pills sought help from Advent Youth Ministries, Dori said.

Living Above The Influence evolved a spin-off program to help young people develop life skills.

After the second year’s event in 2008 grew to 125 participants, Morgan Hill Recreation Coordinator Chiquy Mejia called Dori and asked if she might help bring a similar program to the Teen Center at the Centennial Recreation Center. At first, Dori was hesitant.

But she soon found herself working with the CRC staff to establish the “Chill Out” program where young people got an opportunity to hear the stories of people much like them who faced and overcame struggles with alcohol, drugs and gangs.

“The kids were very, very interested in these types of stories,” Dori said. “They were connected to it and they wanted to hear more. They’d say, ‘Bring somebody else in,’ because a lot of these testimonies are very heart-felt that they’d be crying when they heard about kids being taken away or whatever situation it might be.”

Chill Out now includes training young people on basic life skills such as helping them understand about good financial habits as well as the 41 Developmental Assets, qualities in a community that help young people succeed. It meets every Thursday evening at the Community and Cultural Center.

“This has developed because of Living Above The Influence and it’s something that I’m really proud of,” Dori said.

One thing Dori often points out to people is why the term “Living Above The Influence” was chosen.

“People ask me what that means. Is it talking about drugs and alcohol?” she said. “That’s not what it’s about. It’s about the influences of life. What I like to tell the kids is that if there is something that is affecting your everyday productivity, whatever that may be, you’re living under that influence. And I tell them we need to live above those influences.”


What: Living Above The Influence
When: Noon to 4:30 p.m., Oct. 10
Where: Morgan Hill Community and Cultural Center,
17000 Monterey Road
Contact: (408) 390-9012 or email Livingabovetheinfluence07@gmail.com

Put a Stop to Math Misplacement in our Schools–Support SB 359!

Support SB 359

From the Silicon Valley Community Foundation


Many students are being unfairly held back because their school district does not rely on objective measures to determine their placement. The result is “math misplacement,” a practice that results in a student being forced to repeat a math course even though objective measures such as test scores indicate they should be advanced to the next course. Studies have shown that math misplacement disproportionately affects students of color.

The most egregious math misplacement issue occurs when a student is held back to repeat Algebra 1 instead of being advanced to Geometry. This can cause students to fall too far behind to complete the courses that colleges expect a math or science major to have taken.

Accurate placement is essential to preparing students for a college track and/or readiness for growing careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). At a time when the state and nation face a shortage of qualified STEM workers to meet workforce demands, we must find ways to fix this leak in the STEM pipeline.

Please support Senator Holly Mitchell’s SB 359–The California Mathematics Placement Act of 2015.  SB 359 will ensure that school districts adopt fair, objective and transparent math placement policies so that no student will experience math misplacement.


Asm. Alejo on Bill to Establish Permit Program for Undocumented Farmworkers

For many undocumented farmworkers employed in California, there is a general overarching fear about the possibilities of being detained, deported, and separated from their families. Assemblyman Luis Alejo is seeking to provide legal work permits for those already employed in California’s Agriculture industry, which would ostensibly increase family stability and reduce many fears and anxieties regarding family separation and displacement.

Today is decision day for bills in Sacramento that require the state to spend money. Fiscal committees will decide which bills advance to the Assembly and Senate floors and which bills die for a year. Among those bills is one that would establish a state-sanctioned guest worker program for undocumented farmworkers already employed in California. The California Report’s Queena Kim spoke with the bill’s author, Assembly member Luis Alejo why he chose to focus on farmworkers.

Be sure to follow us on  and  for content like this in real-time!

The Interview:

Health Squad Keeps Kids Moving & Thinking

Health Squad b&w web

Youth Alliance’s Health Squad, in partnership with the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and Pharmacy at Safeway concluded their free week-long camp last week. Students aged 10-14 learned about proper nutrition, diabetes prevention, healthy activities & physical fitness.

safeway foundation

Diabetes prevention is important in every community, but in San Benito County’s Latino Community, this is especially vital. Due to many factors, Latinos in San Benito County are uninsured & overweight at a higher rate than the general population. Because access to health care options are more rare, controlling the factors that cause diabetes goes a long way to cover health and financial side effects once diagnosed.

Health Squad, with the help of the ADA and Safeway Pharmacy, tackle diabetes prevention head on. Through field trips, interactive educational seminars and physical activities San Benito County youth are learning practical ways to combat diabetes.

To learn more about Health Squad and what we do, Watch our Video!

Joshua Rodriguez Memorial Fund

Josh Rodriguez Memorial Fun

Everyone at Youth Alliance would like to give our heartfelt condolences to the family of Joshua Rodriguez, following their tragic loss. This is an unspeakable tragedy and we hope to offer our support in any way possible.

Domino’s Pizza in Hollister will graciously be donating 100% of their proceeds today to the family. Thank you to Domino’s Pizza for their generosity.

Furthermore, Youth Alliance has set up a donation page for the memorial fund below. Your support will go a long way in covering costs for services.

A Little Boy With a Big Heart

From KION:

A little boy with a big heart – that’s how close friends and family describe 11-year-old Josuha Rodriguez.

“When I found out what happened, I just started crying and went straight to the hospital. And I found out he was actually gone. It was sad,” Cody Cordova

Cordova said they were together the night before Josh was killed. That’s a day Cody’s mom, Sheila Cordova, said she will never forget.

“It hurts me to see him because when he asked me he goes ‘Mom, what do I do? I lost my best friend. What am I going to do now?’” Sheila Cordova said.

Police said that just after 4 p.m. on Monday, Joshua was hit by a county bus at the intersection of Memorial Drive and Verdun Avenue. He died at the hospital. The crash was near the skate park where Cody and Joshua spent many hours together.

“I told my son (and) he goes ‘I don’t want to go to the skate park anymore, Mom.’ I said ‘you know what? I don’t think Josh would want that. I think Josh would want you to go,’” Cordova said.

Fundraising events have popped up all over the city. Next Tuesday August 4th, the Hollister Domino’s Pizza is donating all of its proceeds earned that day to the Rodriquez family.

“He was, like, the most lovable person you could ever know. If you were with him, if he was mad or sad, he would still be, like, happy. He would always help people out. We could trust him with anything,” Cody Cordova said.

Hollister police are still investigating how the crash happened. No arrests have been made. Witnesses said the bus driver jumped out to try and help Josh. The driver has not been charged.

President Obama & Juvenile Justice Reform

President Obama & Juvenile Justice Reform

During his week-long tour which culminated with the first-ever visit to a detention facility by a sitting president, Obama said he was struck by the fact that societal inequities mean that some misbehaving kids end up behind bars instead of in front of a principal’s desk.

“When they describe their youth, these are young people who made mistakes that aren’t that different from the mistakes I made, and the mistakes that a lot of you guys made. The difference is that they did not have the kind of support structures, the second chances, the resources that would allow them to survive those mistakes.”

  • “If you are a parent, you know that there are times where boys and girls are going to act out in school. And the question is: Are we letting principals and parents deal with one set of kids and we call the police on another set of kids? That’s not the right thing to do,”  Barack Obama

 The Center for Public Integrity analyzed national education data showing that black, Latino and special needs students across the country are disproportionately referred to law enforcement agencies from their schools, mostly for minor infractions.

School To Prison Pipeline

The School-To-Prison Pipeline President Obama described has serious life-outcome implications, as highlighted by the Campaign for Youth Justice fact sheet Key Facts: Youth in the Justice System. For example, “most youth are denied educational and rehabilitative services that are necessary for their stage in development when in adult facilities. A survey of adult facilities found that 40% of jails provided no educational services at all, only 11% provided special education services, and a mere 7% provided vocational training. This lack of education increases the difficulty that youth will have once they return to their communities.”

School to Prison Pipeline Infographic
The Paths to Prison for Young African-American & Latino youth often begin with the School & Foster Care System | PBS

Equally troubling, especially in San Benito & South Santa Clara County, are the wide disparities in treatment across race & ethnicity. According to America’s Invisible Children: Latino Youth and the Failure of Justice,  “Latino youth are 4% more likely to be petitioned, 16% more likely to be adjudicated delinquent, 28% more likely to be detained, and 41% more likely to receive an out-of-home placement. The most severe disparities occur for Latino youth tried in the adult system. Latino children are 43% more likely than white youth to be waived to the adult system and 40% more likely to be admitted to adult prison.”

There are alternatives to incarcerating youth, and they work. Community-based programs, including diversion programs, drug treatment, evening reporting centers, treatment clinics and family programs, have all been shown to be less costly than detention or incarceration and to help youth stay out of trouble and to not re-offend. Youth Alliance is launching pilot Restorative Justice & Youth Empowerment programs to help explore and implement some of these effective alternatives as well as currently providing youth on probation with opportunities for employment and guidance.

It is promising to see President Obama pushing for Juvenile Justice reform as well as awareness being spread to the mainstream. Hopefully, in the coming months we will begin to see concrete pushes for less punitive and more effective alternatives to Juvenile Incarceration throughout the United states.

© Copyright 2014 Youth Alliance

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