About Omega Boys Club
The mission of Omega Boys Club/Street Soldiers is to keep young people alive and free, unharmed by violence and free from incarceration. To provide youth with opportunity and support to build positive lives for themselves, and move into contributing roles in society.
The Omega Boys Club/Street Soldiers was founded in 1987 as a program of the Potrero Hill Neighborhood House by Joe
Marshall, a middle school teacher and administrator, and Jack Jacqua, a middle school counselor. Both men were concerned about the number of African American youth who were dropping out of school and/or becoming involved in the drug trade. At first, the Club offered tutoring, basketball, and other positive recreational and educational activities. As the founders began to understand the prevalence and severity of the issues these youth were facing, they realized a deeper level of intervention was needed. A culture of violence was deeply ingrained in the youth's lives: in their homes, on the streets, in their neighborhoods, in their relationships with peers, in the movies they watched and the music they listened to. Through their day-to-day work with youth, the founders of Omega Boys Club/Street Soldiers reframed violence as a disease and developed a public health approach to helping youth move from the culture of violence to safer, more personally and socially productive alternatives. Currently, the Club has five primary strategies:
The Omega Leadership Academy
This weekly program provides academic development and life skills education, including college preparation and scholarship support. Students also receive counseling, college placement assistance and scholarship support. To date 163 Omega students have graduated from college and our retention/graduation rate is 94%. There are currently 60 Omega college students, all receiving long-distance/in-person counseling from Omega.
The Omega Training Institute
This program trains individuals and professionals in violence prevention/conflict reduction skills, based on the Omega Boys Club/Street Soldiers model.
The Institute has three programs. The School Adoption Program works with Bay Area schools, helping them transform their classrooms so they can achieve a violence-free learning environment and academic success.
Omega Training Institutes teach individuals who work with youth in the Alive & Free Prescription violence prevention methodology developed by the Omega Boys Club. The Street Soldiers National Consortium is a group of professionals and organizations trained in the Alive & Free Prescription and dedicated to preventing violence by using and promoting the model. To date, Omega has trained 3,945 adults who work with youth, including police officers, youth development workers, and 1,177 school faculty and staff at 17 Bay Area schools impacting more than 15,000 students.
The Street Soldiers Violence Prevention Program
This project includes Street Soldiers Communications and Outreach:
- the Club's Hotline, 1-800-SOLDIER, which provides help and a source for information and referrals;
- workshops and presentations for community agencies, schools and other organizations;
- presentations to inmates in correctional institutions and training workshops for staff.
The Nationally Syndicated Street Soldiers Radio Show
This award-winning call-in radio talk show deals with the pressing issues that young people face, particularly those related to keeping neighborhoods and communities safe.
The nationally syndicated Street Soldiers Radio Show, a weekly two hour call in show on 7 seven radio stations nationwide reaching 150,000 listeners.
The Alive & Free Movement
The Alive & Free Movement was created in 2006 in response to the increasing numbers of inner city youth dropping out of school and being incarcerated or killed.
In Birmingham, Alabama in 2006, the Movement was officially launched at the first Alive & Free National Conference. The second Alive & Free National Conference was held in Baltimore, MD , 2008 and the third in Seattle, WA in 2010. The Movement focuses on recruiting, teaching and developing street soldiers — people committed to eliminating violence in their own lives and in their communities.