Youth Programs LION

Somali Family Service (SFS) has worked to fine tune and expand its youth group which is called, Leaders In Our Neighborhood (LION). The program, through educational workshops and recreational activities provides the target population, the East African youth, with skills that are needed for a self-sufficient, confident and responsible generation. This program is focused on empowerment of youth ages 13-18. LION guides youth toward positive activities through educational and recreational activities that promote knowledge and growth. 
 

The goal is to improve the potential and stability of the East African community by creating educated, self-sufficient young members of the community. SFS has worked to comprehensively develop LION into a program that educates, fosters, and shapes the East African youth into the next leaders in our neighborhood. To accomplish this, SFS has focused on making LION a program that not only provides a safe space for fun-filled and meaningful recreational activities, but also making LION a program that is culturally appropriate and relevant to the East African youth in the U.S. 
 

The educational part of LION consists of a series of workshops educating the East African youth on career development, financial responsibility, health education, leadership training, conflict resolution, crime prevention and community service.

sfs youth

Youth Volunteering @ SFS Health Fair - Courtecy of SFS

To ensure that our workshops are viable and useful for participants, SFS partnered with Alliant International University (AIU) to study the effectiveness of the leadership trainings we have provided. The study found that 91% of participants believed that their leadership knowledge increased as a result of completing the leadership program. Additionally 91% of participants believed their leadership capabilities increase. Through our partnerships with various community based organizations, the local police department (SDPD), students from local Universities (SDSU, UCSD), the National Conflict Resolution Center (NCRC), AIU, San Diego Unified School District, and many more, we have been able to fill a gap in the services that the East African community has not been receiving. The importance of these partnerships has really been underlined in the work that SFS has done with SDPD, as the connection between a community and law enforcement has been established, leading to a significant drop of crime committed by the East African youth population. Additionally, high school dropout rates decreased since SFS started this partnership program and a higher number of young East Africans made the decision to pursue higher education. More specifically, the success of this partnership is represented in an example of one alumnus of LION, who is currently enrolled at Stanford, pursuing his Bachelor's degree. His life was completely transformed because he has participated in a program that holistically addresses the multifaceted needs of the East African youth. 


Since its inception in 2001 this youth development program has served about 1000 youth. 90% of the LION graduates continue on with a post-secondary education. Somali Family Service is committed, through evidence-based practices, to continually varying this program to ensure the most current and immediate concerns and needs of the East African youth are met.

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