Founded in 2012, Youth Interactive Santa Barbara (YI) is a grassroots after school Entrepreneurial Arts Academy offering an intensive program of arts, creativity and enterprise. This program bridges the social and academic divide by providing young adults from all walks of life with the keys to self-sufficiency. Past participants say the YI approach has changed their lives from a place of darkness and failure to success.
YI helps Santa Barbara residents to overcome poverty and injustice by empowering students in entrepreneurial skills – an educational pathway that until recently was only offered to high achievers. Youth Interactive treats ‘at risk’ students like responsible, valuable young adults, holding them accountable for their choices and supporting them to reach for their dreams.
In the past four years YI has created six youth-led businesses where small teams innovate and work collaboratively with mentors to inspire solutions both big and small for the whole community. Students at YI earn high school credits, which in turn helps them to graduate on time, work off probation community service hours, and even earn a paycheck from their micro business.
Who does YI serve?
• 80-90 students per year
• Mostly students 14-18 years old
• 86% from low-income household
• 75% Hispanic
• 68% from distressed neighborhoods or live in temporary or transitional housing
• 50% of youth on probation or with a criminal history
• 100% of YI programs are FREE FOR ALL STUDENTS
What is Youth Interactive’s “Get It Done” Program?
The “Get It Done Program” was created to help all YI students be life and college ready. It aims to serve all YI students with all the extra curricular support and access to opportunities that will enable them to bridge the opportunity divide everyday of their lives.
How it works: At the start of each semester, YI helps students identify challenges that they are facing, which include but are not limited to: academic tutoring, obtaining a CA ID, opening a bank account, acquiring a driving license, re-entering high school, helping with college applications, or finding an enriching summer opportunity. YI participants who self-identify as wanting help will be matched with an academic mentor or civic volunteer as appropriate. CBB members participating in this initiative will do so as official volunteers for Youth Interactive and may need to undergo a background check, fingerprinting, and a TB test.
What is the Mission of the YI and CBB Collaboration?
The mission of CBB’s collaboration with Youth Interactive is to meet the needs of the students YI serves. It is also to provide CBB members with opportunities to build mutually enriching relationships with youth and communities beyond CBB, and to contribute resources, effort and expertise to effect lasting and systemic impact within the larger Santa Barbara community.