Fresh Lifelines for Youth

Milpitas, CA
Founder/Chief Executive Officer: Christa Gannon

Fresh Lifelines for Youth (FLY) is dedicated to breaking the cycle of violence, crime and incarceration for teens.

FLY supports youth involved in the juvenile justice system and those at risk of committing crimes as they fulfill their potential to become positive, productive young adults.

Christa Gannon founded FLY after incarcerated youth told her what might have prevented them from ending up in jail. Their ideas became the foundation of FLY’s unique combination of programs: legal education, leadership training, and one-on-one mentoring. Today, FLY works with more than 1,000 youth each year in 23 Bay Area cities.

“Creating a Theory of Change (TOC) is much more than contemplation of target population and service activities – it is about creating efficient, data-driven, and strategic cultural conditions where disciplined testing of the TOC can refine and even prove impact.”
- Christa Gannon, FLY

FLY’s nationally recognized legal education curriculum teaches youth about the law and consequences of crime. The leadership program helps them recognize their strengths, build trusting relationships, and give back to their communities through service projects. The mentoring program matches them with caring adult volunteers who become friends and advocates. In every program, youth learn critical life skills such as positive communication, anger management, and problem solving.

FLY programs are less than one-tenth the cost of juvenile incarceration and achieve measurable impact. In the FLY leadership program, 2016 data shows that more than 80 percent of youth don’t commit a new offense during the year, whereas national research shows that without intervention, anywhere from 50 percent to 80 percent reoffend. Through FLY's collaborative efforts with partners, there has been a 77 percent reduction in the number of kids jailed in Santa Clara County and a 65 percent reduction in San Mateo since 2000, the year FLY was founded.

Watch Christa Gannon talk about her organization's experiences