Meet the Neighbors: New Door Ventures
New Door Ventures began in 1981 as a shelter for homeless men in San Francisco. Today, New Door Ventures is a nonprofit helping disconnected youth ages 16 – 24 by providing paid jobs, skills training, education and individualized support. The youth that New Door serves face a variety of challenges, including homelessness, poverty, history with the criminal justice and/or foster care system, and others. 50% of the youth who come to New Door have dropped out of high school and 72% live in high-risk neighborhoods.
New Door’s mission is to help “disconnected youth overcome barriers by providing meaningful jobs, training, and personal support they need to succeed in the workplace and the rest of life.” They achieve these goals through their employment program which provides paid internships, skill-building workshops, and on-the-job support, as well as individualized case management. In May 2015, New Door also launched a high school equivalency program to help young people earn a GED, HiSET or CHSPE. The organization provides stipends to help cover transportation costs, which are often a financial burden to youth interns, as well as extracurricular activities, such as Film Group and yoga.
The employment program is a paid 13-week internship. Youth are placed with one of New Door’s 70 Ally business partners, which range from ice cream shops to nonprofits to medical and law offices and more. Ally partners provide the youth with on-the-job experience and mentorship; New Door provides wages and holds workshops focusing on core job skills such as resume building, time management, money management, communication skills, and mock interviewing. It is the goal that these supported internships will better-prepare the youth in New Door’s program for work and life.
New Door’s education program is designed for youth who have dropped out of high school, but who are looking to pass a high school equivalency test (either the GED, HiSET, or CHSPE). While not required, youth may also be involved in New Door’s employment program. New Door provides a specialized curriculum designed for each individual student, which has led to positive programmatic outcomes; youth in New Door’s education program have a 98% pass rate. New Door also provides tutoring to current students in high school or college, as well as counseling to help youth explore their future steps. Education specialists help youth decide what track would be best for them, whether it be a four-year university or vocational school, with an emphasis on the individual’s needs and personality.
Along with academic learning, New Door also provides youth with extracurricular opportunities, catering to their physical, mental, and emotional development. For example, youth may get involved with the New Door Film Group, where they write, direct, and produce their own films, and attend free yoga classes led by staff at the office. Occasionally, youth are paid to attend these workshops as part of their internship hours.
New Door owns and operates two social enterprises, which host youth interns and contribute to about half of the organization’s revenue.
Ashbury Images is a custom printing shop located in the Dogpatch. It prints a variety of promotional items, from t-shirts to frisbees and maintains large accounts in the Bay Area and beyond. The youth interns at Ashbury get the full printing experience, from folding t-shirts to taking orders from clients.
Pedal Revolution is a full-service bike shop located in the Mission at 3085 21st Street. Pedal offers a wide range of new and used bikes and accessories at affordable prices; the shop also provides a rental service for those looking to borrow a unique bike for a day. Youth interns who are placed at Pedal learn how to service, repair, and sell bicycles, as well as provide customizations. At the end of their internship, interns build their own bike from donated used parts, which they keep after the internship ends.
There are many ways to support New Door Ventures or their social enterprises, Ashbury Images or Pedal Revolutions. People interested in getting more actively involved are encouraged to volunteer at one of New Door’s job-skills workshops or to apply for one-on-one tutoring. For more information go to http://www.newdoor.org/.