For generations, communities of well-intentioned leaders have created organizations to support young people, but they have done so by creating numerous local, regional, and national silos that have a singular focus, are easy to explain, have a clear tag line and so forth. To put it succinctly, organizations have been constructed that matched the needs of organizations—and the funders behind them—more so than the needs of young people. In doing so, they have also failed to listen to our youth and to adapt effectively as their needs have changed. Too often they have been organization-centric at the cost of being youth-centric.
Oasis Center recognizes that the lives of our young people are complex, and that supporting their healthy transition to adulthood cannot happen through a singular support or opportunity. We cannot do this by offering services only during one time of day or with one narrow age group. We cannot do this simply by providing services once a crisis has happened. We cannot do this simply through prevention efforts or counseling. We cannot do this simply through leadership development. For young people to thrive, they need access to all of these at varying times of day, at varying times of life, and in varying degrees of intensity.
Oasis Center addresses this reality through a continuum of 22 individual, unique programs delivered through three major departments: Crisis and Residential Services; Youth Engagement and Action; and College Access.
While complex and varied, this continuum of services is not without strategy and intentionality. Research has proven that young people who enter high school with strong relationships—and have strong relationships with adults throughout their high school years—are 5 times more likely to leave high school doing well than those who have no supportive relationships with adults. It is no coincidence therefore that all of our programs are united by a common commitment to providing a solid foundation of meaningful and caring relationships through which teenagers can:
• Be emotionally and physically safe and secure.
• Experience a sense of personal significance and positive connections.
• Take direct action to improve their lives.
Currently more than 1/3 of our youth are involved in more than one program area of Oasis. For example, a young woman involved in a Youth Action Program may also be in an active counseling relationship or a young man participating in our 7 week Halcyon Bike Workshop may also be enrolled in our college access program.