Safe Passages

Safe Passages’ (SP) mission is to disrupt the cycle of poverty by engaging youth and families to build and drive a continuum of services that supports student success and community development. Safe Passages’ work is based on the premises that access to educational opportunities should not be dictated by race or socio-economic status, and that healthy and supported young people are better prepared to learn and succeed.

Age Groups Served
  • 0-3
  • 3-5
  • Elementary School
  • Parent and Caregiver Engagement
Geographical Area Served
  • City of Emeryville
  • City of Hayward
  • City of Oakland
  • City of Union City
  • County Alameda
  • State of California
Services Offered
  • Academic Support
  • After School Academic and Enrichment
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Family Engagement
  • Job training programs
  • Mental Health Services
  • Out-of-Classroom Experiences
  • Restorative Practices
  • Social Emotional Learning
  • Special Needs Students
  • Student and Family well-being
  • Summer programs
  • Tutoring
Founded in 1995, Safe Passages (SP) was created as part of the five-city, ten-year Urban Health Initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Over the last 25 years, SP has helped government work together with community-based agencies, redirecting government and private resources to implement strategies that improve academic performance and social wellbeing for the most marginalized students. Strategies include: Early Childhood, School-Linked Services, Juvenile Justice, College to Career, and Community Development. We currently serve 4,200 families and children across 14 school communities in three school districts. Safe Passages Early Childhood Initiative and Early Literacy Program deliver services in high need elementary schools in Alameda County, where less than 25% of 3rd-5th grade students meet or exceed English Language Arts or Math testing standards. The programs meet the following critical needs: 1) the need for a safe and supportive learning environment; 2) the need for early literacy intervention; 3) the high need for social emotional learning; and 4) the need for family support services and opportunities for parent engagement in schools. Within the Early Childhood Initiative, the Safe Passages’ Baby Learning Communities Collaborative Program’s (BLCCP) was developed in 2010 to address the urgent and unmet needs of low-income families with young children residing in Oakland. Through a close partnership with Oakland schools and community based mental health providers, the program provides child/parent playgroups, child development/literacy workshops, childcare resource/referral counseling, mental health/linkages and special needs case management in order to increase Kindergarten readiness and family protective factors.
To assess our success, staff collects data on program attendance, test scores, GPA, and discipline referrals. Survey data from program staff, teachers, parents, and students is used to monitor stakeholders’ perceptions. To evaluate the program in previous years, SP staff conducted paired t-tests to determine whether average differences in fall and spring scores on NWEA MAP Assessments represented statistically significant change, in which results revealed that they did, suggesting that program participation positively impacts student performance. Additionally, parents complete program surveys indicating progress towards emotional connections with children, confidence with engaging in activities, increased knowledge of positive discipline, and how to access community resources to support their families. The program staff is in constant communication with families on individual needs and recommendations for program improvement and hold several focus groups to this end annually.

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