A 4-day, 3-night residential retreat designed to help high school students unlock old, limited thinking and develop empathy, respect, and leadership skills.
About Your Organization
Silicon Valley FACES
United States, San Jose
Country where this project is creating social impact
United States, San Jose
Is your organization a
Non‐profit / NGO / Citizen sector organization
Your role in Education
The type of school(s) your solution is affiliated with
How long has your organization been operating?
More than 5 years
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Select the stage that best applies to your solution
Established (past the previous stages and has demonstrated success)
How long has your solution been in operation?
Operating for more than 5 years
The Need: What problem are you trying to solve?
One of the fundamentally important dimensions of school climate is how “connected” people feel to one another in school. This relationality is a powerful predictor of adolescent heath, academic outcomes, group cohesion, respect and mutual trust, and violence prevention. Snapshot: 60% of middle school students say that they have been bullied; 2/3 of students who are targets become bullies; 888 hate groups are currently operating in the United States, an increase of 48% since 2000; 61% of Americans say they would not vote for a candidate who was an Atheist; 20% of high school students have seriously considered suicide.
The Solution: What is your solution? Be specific!
Through a carefully focused curriculum, Camp Everytown promotes life, leadership, and relationship skill-building through activities such as (1) Understanding Prejudice, (2) Gender Empowerment, (3) Understanding Family Cultures (4) Segregation exercises, (5) Privilege/Advantage exercises, and (6) Disability exercises. All interactions are designed to lead students to a respectful understanding of what others are experiencing -- in other words, empathy. According to a recent Camp Delegate, “Camp gave me the confidence to just start talking with people and try to find points of commonality, to dive in and connect with people, which of course is the most important way to destroy stereotypes, by building those connections.” Another participant said: "It seemed I was making huge life changes at Camp every hour instead of every 10 years."
The Model: Walk us through a specific example of how your solution makes a difference; include your primary activities
Camp Everytown is a four-day, three night residential retreat through which high school students, faculty, and other community members learn to value one another across difference. Through group processes and exercises, Camp builds awareness of prejudice, appreciation for diversity, empathy, and new leadership skills.
"Everybody stand up," the facilitator says. "Stand in a line and respond as I suggest. If you have ever skipped a meal at home because there wasn't enough money, take a step back." The students look around, and one by one, they take that first step." If you have ever thought of suicide, take a step back." Three students hesitantly step and then look at each other. One young man starts to cry." I thought I was the only one," he whispers. The facilitator continues: "If your parents ever told you that you were beautiful or smart, take a step forward. If they told you that you would never be anybody, take a step back." After several more questions the facilitator says, "Now look where everyone is...The ones in the back are survivors; they are here against all odds. It's up to all of us to bring them forward with us."
The Marketplace: Who are your peers and competitors? Identify others also working to address the needs you are and what differentiates you from them. What challenges could these players pose to your success or growth?
The Camp Everytown model is unique. The program closest to ours is a one-day, site-based program called "Challenge Day." This program gives in smaller doses the values we are able to cover in depth in our four day, off-site program: respect, empathy, self-esteem and leadership. Because "Challenge Day" is only one day and is held onsite, the cost to the school is much less. However, we don't see this as having an impact on our growth, as most schools who participate in Camp Everytown use "Challenge Day" to spread the values of Camp to non-delegates among their students.
Now that you have thought out your entry, help us pitch it.
Define your company, program, service, or product in 1-2 short sentences [136 characters]
A 4-day, 3-night retreat to help high school students unlock old, limited thinking and develop empathy, respect, and leadership skills.
Identify what is innovative about your solution in 1-2 short sentences [136 characters]
Students say aloud the stereotyped thinking they carry and write it on posters. Students who are the target of such thinking respond.
This Entry is about (Issues)
What has been the impact of your solution to date?
Camp has served over 17,000 students in the last 14 years. Teachers and students all report an improvement in school climate; student involvement in school activities has risen; levels of appreciation for diversity have increased; division of students into separate groups has decreased significantly. In fact, Bob Grover, former Vice-Principal of Fremont High School told us: "Camp changed the campus climate. When you walk across the FHS campus today, instead of pockets of separation, you see students of different ethnicities mingling together. The student leaders are now representative of the whole student body." And Phan Ngo, Deputy Chief of the San Jose Police Department, says, "I am convinced that these programs have made a significant contribution to the safety and well being of our community.”
What is your projected impact over the next 1-3 years?
We intend to expand the current number of Camps per year to 21 -- nearly double the current number of around 700 students. This would mean serving 1260 to 1680 students per year. In addition, we hope to pilot a site-specific follow-up program in two high-need high schools. An important aspect of the follow-up program is for Camp Delegates (students who have finished Camp at some point) to develop and complete a peer-led and managed community service project.
What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?
The major barrier is financial. The cost of Camp is $375 per student. A few schools have been able to budget Camp and cover all costs. Now, with many schools facing hard budgeting choices, Silicon Valley FACES has pledged to locate funders and secure much of the funding for these camps. The road has proven to be rather long and winding. Loyal funders, while still giving support, are giving in smaller amounts. Some foundations have closed altogether. We are now widening our search, approaching new categories of funders (such as the County General Fund), and increasing our requests to individuals.
Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
Within 6 months we will develop a range of focused instruction modules. Schools can then choose the ones that meet specific need
Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Meet with school staff to strategize about and identify specific issues, needs, and/or challenges.
Create curriculum modules that address identified issues (self-esteem, body image, violence prevention, stress management, gende
Visit school sites at least monthly and meet with both Camp Delegates (alums) and Non-Delegates to fine-tune the modules for tha
Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone
Pilot intensive site-specific follow-up programs in two high-need high schools, one in low-income East Side Union High School Di
Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Faculty or staff select pieces of follow-up curriculum and become staff advisors to ensure Camp values are continued and promote
Students design and complete a peer-led community service project
We will design a year-end evaluation instrument to measure the efficacy of the program
Founding Story: We want to hear about your "Aha!" moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution's potential to change the world [125 words]
Camp Director Richard Valenzuela recounts, "When I went to Camp as a 19-yr old college kid, I saw that something positive could be done beyond marching/protesting. When I became an adult I wanted to offer Camp so more kids could participate. Parents and grandparents who had attended camp approached him. They remembered their own experiences at Camp had been a turning point in their lives; they wanted their kids to be have the same growth-experiences. "Putting a class into a different physical setting," he says, " generates a bond among class members and creates a learning community." Says one student, "Camp changed my life!" Says another, "More than anything, Camp Everytown opened my eyes... Camp Everytown will forever be a part of my life."
Tell us about your partnerships
We have several partnerships established where Camp Delegates can create and carry out community service projects. Delegates can choose from the following nonprofits and develop a project that has special appeal. Some of these nonprofits might include the following: Asian Americans for Community Involvement, Humane Society, Sacred Heart Community Service, Boys and Girls Club, YMCA, YWCA, and Mexican American Community Service Association, among others.
What type of team (staff, volunteers, etc.) will ensure that you achieve the growth milestones identified in the Social Impact section? [75 words]
A partner agency or community volunteer introduces FACES to a school which they know is interested in character building and increasing empathy. Our Director of Education trains teachers and the Site Coordinator about Camp, holds a meeting for parents, shares best practices, helps interview potential attendees, participates in the schools’ Camp fundraising activities, and helps select volunteers to attend Camp (1:7 ratio). Team = 1 FACES staff, 3 teachers, 1 site coordinator, and 12-20 volunteers.
Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list
We would suggest adding the following categories: Fundraising, including for general expenses, major gifts specialization and solicitation training for community volunteers and board members, and volunteer cultivation and training.