Acts of Hope Center
A Pacesetting Nonprofit Agency
At Acts of Hope Center (AHC), we pride ourselves on being forward-looking. Our YouthE, which stands for “Youth Enrichment”, is intended to empower low-income young people to build or rebuild their lives.” The overarching goals of the program are: (1) Improve academic achievement, (2) provide market-driven vocational training opportunities, (3) offer job search, interview preparation, and resume writing services, and (4) provide one-on-one client-centered counseling and moral support services.
A distinguishing characteristic of AHC’s YouthE program is that it involves the youth we work with in the needs assessment, feasibility analysis, and evaluation phases of all our program activities. In other words, instead of getting young people in a ready-made top-down intervention, our YouthE program empowers them to take ownership and play a major role from start to finish. What’s more, and to ensure long-term success, we have a dynamic mentoring component, which not only relies on a multivariate system to match needs with services, but also create the optimal condition for any mentors to keep in touch with their mentees long after graduation from the program.
Target Population: Low-income adolescents and young adults, male and female, ages 14-24, who are at risk for: (1) academic failure, (2) juvenile crime, (3) teen pregnancy, (4) recursive joblessness, and (5) housing insecurity.
Workforce Empowerment Campaign (WERC)
The Problem and how WERC Addresses it: Despite the enactment of the Americans With Disability Act, Americans with a disability continue to face massive odds on the job market. In 2015, the Texas Workforce Investment Council reported that: (1) the labor participation rate for 25 to 64 year olds with disabilities was 5.9%, compared to 94.1% for those who did not have a disability. And according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, only 17.5% of Americans with a disability were employed in 2016, while 65% of those without a disability were employed.
What makes it worse is that even people without a disability can and do face staggering odds on the job market. In recent years, we have seen a fast-growing number of San Antonians, new college grads with little or no work experience or 50+ year-old adults, to whom employers were reluctant to give a job. It follows that this program is designed to: (1) empower San Antonians with a disability to be employed, and (2) connect recent college graduates and older adults, who have no disability but cant find work, with employers through work readiness partnerships and real job opportunities.
A distinguishing characteristic of WERC is that it also serves as incubator for aspiring entrepreneurs—people who can’t find work but are interested and have what it takes to start a small business.
Target Populations:(1) College grads ages 22-35, who have a disability and are unemployed or underemployed; (2) older adults ages 45 and over who have a disability and are unemployed/underemployed; (3) unemployed San Antonians who can’t find work because they are told: “You don’t have work experience!” or “you are overqualified for this job”