The Respect Institute

The Respect Institute

Respect 360

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Last Update: August 20, 2014

Vulnerable youth need respect. We empower youth influencers with a coaching method and toolkit to nurture their and youths' self-respect, resiliency and compassion. These adults create the caring connections youth crave and together they create a world based on: "I matter. You matter."

Founded: 2010 Type: citizen sector

The Problem

When you work with vulnerable youth, you get hit hard with compassion fatigue. Yet youth who are trapped in cycles of disrespect—violence, racial inequality, poverty, the school suspension to prison pipeline and trauma—need compassion from caring youth influencers more than anyone. To break cycles of disrespect, and become leaders of change, vulnerable youth need to see it to be it.

The Solution

I was vulnerable Latina teen in Santa Clara County—an empathetic probation officer amplified my strengths and re-directed me to lead. Now we build this capacity in youth influencers via Respect 360. It's a training, coaching method and trauma-informed toolkit that’s improved social-emotional and resiliency outcomes for 30,000 U.S. youth since 2010. To reach 1,000s of Silicon Valley Latino youth by 2015, we’ll train partners—The Boys & Girls Club, Planned Parenthood, law enforcement—to nurture self-respect and be more effective mentors. For a year or more, they'll practice The Respect Basics (e.g. Tell Your Truth, Get Help, Have Courage) with youth in groups or 1-on-1, learning together: "I am unique contributor to the greater whole."


YWCP is a new all-girls public charter school in a city with a high school graduation rate of 43 percent. To achieve academic strides, YWCP aimed to be trauma-informed, restorative and a safe space for girls to connect with caring adults. To create a school culture of belonging, supported by a social-emotional development framework, YWCP used Respect 360 to create a daily advisory program for its inaugural seventh-grade class. Advisors, many of whom were also first-year teachers, practiced The Respect Basics with the girls six times per month, created a Respect Pact to establish norms in their advisories, coached girls to recover from disrespect, and met them with compassion as they grew their resiliency and support network.


We've increased empathy, respect and community among 30,000 youth *and their influencers* in three years, while diminishing compassion fatigue in influencers. After only 15 sessions, 120 middle school students: 72% said they trusted their peers in the Respect Circle (24% increase). 78% reported feeling safe to speak the truth in their circle (29% increase). 86% reported that the peers in their circle listened to them (29% increase). 77% said "I feel like I belong at my school" (16% increase). After just six sessions with 2,058 high school students: 88% agreed that The Respect Basics had given them new, better ways to practice respect for themselves and to help spread respect to others. 90% said they now respected each other as equals (25% increase). 73% understood how to create respect in their relationships (34% increase).

Full Impact Potential

We have a strategy to embark on the evidence-based program journey so we can partner more deeply with juvenile justice (we've already piloted with NY Department of Corrections). We will also reach more Opportunity Youth (ages 16-24 and out of school/work) partners' job/education foundational skill-building. We we will reach 100,000 youth by 2020 with data showing self-respect's impact on vulnerable youth of color outcomes like high school graduation, teen pregnancy, post-secondary graduation, justice-involved rates, career attainment and citizen-sector leadership.

Budget: $100,000 - $250,000

Financial Sources

Friends and family, Individuals, Foundations, Clients

Sustainability Plan

In three short years, we’ve established a strong earned-income model; our Respect 360 partners make an investment based on a sliding scale in training and materials. We have a committed community of individual donors who support the infrastructure. We’ve received seed grants to develop the toolkit and are working through Clinton Global Initiative to secure a corporate sponsor to support the maintenance of our e-Training Center.


Project Cornerstone's great empathy work is focused on bullying prevention and doesn’t reach far into high schools. Silicon Valley Faces seeks to build an inclusive and caring community, but doesn't have the extensive number of partnerships/toolkits we have across diverse youth developers in Silicon Valley. Project Happiness relies heavily on classroom curriculum and many schools can no longer support program silos. Respect 360 increases the influencers' self-respect building and coaching skills in diverse youth settings delivered by trained partners to deeply shift cultures.

Founding Story

My father and older brothers were arrested in Santa Clara County and incarcerated before the age of 25. On his deathbed, my father shared with me: “If just one caring adult had intervened, my life would have been different.” I, on the other hand, did cross paths with a caring probation officer on my second juvenile offense. He sent me to volunteer at the local Girl Scouts to be of service. They embraced me. More than 15 years later, I would develop a national program for the Girls Scouts and go on to a life of service. I had very different outcomes from the men in my family because I learned through positive youth influencers: You are a unique contributor to the greater whole. This is the impact we aim to amplify for youth.

Team Explanation

Co-founders: Partnership developers and training leads, amplifying our reach through e-Training and webinars. Youth Board Member Johnson Tran, Children’s Vision Council, is a training lead as well in Silicon Valley. Our active board fundraises. Applied Survey Research and our visiting scholars lead impact reporting. Learning Times: Pro-bono e-Training. We’ll hire a program manager to scale. Partners improve efficacy of the toolkit and training.

Team Members


Building Vibrant Communities: Activating Empathy to Create Change

Supplemental Information

On which of the following California counties does your project focus its impact? (check all that apply):

Santa Clara.

How does your idea help cultivate empathy skills to strengthen communities and equip young people to become leaders of change?

The Respect Institute empowers youth and their influencers to redefine respect and build self-respect so they can break cycles of disrespect and thrive. Through our toolkit and partner training, Respect 360, containing 375 respect-building sessions, influencers nurture self-respect—I am a unique contribute to the greater whole—in a circle of support or 1-on-1 in mentoring relationship. Influencers and youth practice being curious vs. judgmental, restorative vs. punitive, and use respect-based vs. violent communication. They embrace the root meaning of the word re-spect, “to look again,” and lead from an open heart. With healthy self-respect they close the empathy gap together because they behave like: I matter. You matter.



Partner organization sites to implement Respect 360.


Respect 360 webinar to learn why self-respect is a key youth-development asset, and training to implement Respect 360.

Tell us about your partnerships

Since 2010, we’ve reached more than 30,000 youth through collective-impact partners such as the Clinton Global Initiative. We're scaling to train 300 more influencers to reach 1,200 more vulnerable Latino youth in Silicon Valley by 2015. Partners integrate Respect 360 into their youth and professional development work and include Boys and Girls Club of SV, Alliance for Girls, HealthCorps, Opportunity Youth Partnership and Planned Parenthood.


1. Respect 360 is not an evidence-based program—though it is research-based, widely used and has significant outcomes. > We've expanded our 2014-2015 budget to move Respect 360 toward evidence-based certification. Also, we've created a process for youth to continue to practice The Respect Basics online in a social network and will measure the impact on their life/education outcomes. 2. Our partners serving vulnerable youth can’t always afford the toolkit and training ($199 per influencer). > Grant funding to provide no-cost training.

Does your project use any of the following approaches to cultivate community members as empathetic and collaborative leaders?

creating a safe space, developing emotional competency, building leadership skills, identifying shared values and differences, instilling courage.

Target Age Group(s)


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