Success Center San Francisco – My Homie’s Couch Project
Revolutionizing the roles of youth in our world
What is My Homie’s Couch?
My Homie’s Couch will be an online platform that:
- Embraces youth as legitimate authorities on the issues that affect them
- Gives youth opportunities to speak on behalf of themselves and others
- Allows youth to spark the creation of new, transformative communities
What might My Homie’s Couch accomplish?
Sample film message: “I don’t have a voice in choosing what I eat because I live in a group home and all of our food decisions are made for us. I wish I could have more choice. You can help by giving this choice to foster kids close to you.
Share: Video is uploaded to the online community. The user assigns a category tag “hunger”. Administrators add the tag “foster care”.
- Interact: Possible actions from My Homie’s Couch community:
- Video receives 50 likes in 1 hour
- One user starts a new discussion on the website: “What are some other facts about the foster care experience that most people don’t know about.”
- Another user organizes a food drive for a local group home using the website.
- A My Homie’s Couch team member curates and publishes a collection of foster-care themed videos.
- A user or My Homie’s Couch team member uses the website to organize a meet-up entitled “Supporting SF’s foster youth”.
What’s our story?
My Homie’s Couch is an aspiring social entrepreneurship venture created by a team of youth and adults from Success Center San Francisco (SCSF). SCSF has provided education and employment opportunities to the city’s marginalized youth, particularly those engaged in the justice system, for over 32 years. Visit the SCSF homepage here.
Since August of 2015, over 15 youth have worked together to answer the question: “What do youth in San Francisco need to succeed?” This question has led to weekly meetings, site visits to Bay Area community centers, a business retreat, and endless ideas on how young people can influence their communities. My Homie’s Couch represents one way in which our team hopes to revolutionize the roles of youth in our world.
Who are we?
Ares Brown Jr. is currently attending City College of San Francisco for his AA in Business. In the last couple of years, Ares has played basketball at Skyline College, volunteered at a variety of places helping children develop basic skills in school, and is currently working for (IHSS) In Home Support Services taking care of elderly people. In his free time, Ares loves to write poetry, draw, and listen to hip hop music. Ares joined My Homie’s Couch because he believes this generation of youth will be the most influential group to leave its mark on history and wants to guide them to greatness
Charles Breed grew up in the Bayview-Hunters Point and Portrero Hill neighborhoods of San Francisco. He graduated from Thurgood Marshall Academic High School and currently does work with construction companies through his union. He loves politics and sports, football in particular. Charles joined My Homie’s Couch because he sees something bigger than himself. He sees an organization that can help the youth in our communities have a better life. Believe it or not, youth are the future.
Michael Fu is a native of Columbus, Ohio and currently studies medicine at Stanford University. He received a BS in bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania and has also worked as a middle school math teacher in Chicago’s Englewood community. His personal passions include LSU football, live music, books by Dave Eggers and Ron Currie Jr, and middle school dance moves. Michael joined My Homie’s Couch to inspire a belief that we are all valuable and powerful individuals.
Mirian Caballero was born in Honduras. She immigrated to the United States in 2005 when she was 13 years old. When she first attended James Lick Middle School, she didn’t know a word in English, but communicating with other people in a different language made her more interested in learning and not embarrassed to speak. She graduated in 2010 from Galileo Academy of Science where she participated in the girls’ soccer team all 4 years. Soccer, one of her favorite hobbies, runs in her family. Her father was a soccer player in Honduras and always encouraged her and her brother to play. Mirian spends her free time with her two adorable girls who are 4 and 1 years old. Mirian joined My Homie’s Couch because she has kids and wants to help our youth community. Being a young mother is a challenge and sometimes society doesn’t know what young mothers go through. For her this is a great experience to help others by sharing her story.
Merrie Triplett is the Administrative and Outreach Coordinator at the Western Addition Neighborhood Access Point. Merrie’s past work experience includes other stints in administration as well as employment as a writer. Born in Arkansas, she attended college in Evanston, Illinois before heading West. Her hobbies include writing, drawing, sewing, and reading a “really good book every chance she gets”. She joined the My Homie’s Couch team because she believes that “freedom of expression brings light to darkness and empowers us all – the speaker as well as the listener.”
Reymon LaChaux is a Bay Area native and is the Business Relations Coordinator for Success Center SF. He has a background in Business Administration and Economics, and has extensive experience working as a job coach and trainer for young job seekers. Specific areas of expertise include business development and operations, financial literacy, job readiness, life skills, and work maturity skills. Rey also possess a passion for social awareness and social responsibility. Since 2007, Rey has owned and operated a number of financial service businesses. He joined My Homie’s Couch to help create social enterprise models as an alternative to traditional employment routes for new entrants into the workforce.
Brainstorming Workshop – August 2015
Our first team meeting took place at Success Center San Francisco and included over 15 participants, the youngest of whom was still in grade school. This was truly a diverse gathering that included SCSF staff, previous SCSF students, and friends. Despite coming from different backgrounds and different parts of the Bay, our group was able to instantly form new friendships and connections.
During this meeting, we learned about social entrepreneurship and the ways in which innovation has been used to improve communities. We agreed that it was about time young people get a chance to play a role in this process, especially those who are rarely given the opportunity to do so. And we began to understand the impact of adverse childhood events on health in way that motivated us to want to do something about it.
The bulk of our time was then dedicated to a remarkable brainstorming activity in which we used our personal experiences to answer the question: “What do youth in San Francisco need to succeed?” This was done individually, in small groups, and finally as one team. After about 2 hours of discussion, we categorized our thoughts into 5 major categories using the visual aid below.
My Homie’s Couch represents just one way in which we are aiming to address this collection of thoughts (or should we say, needs).
Team Meetings – September 2015 to now
Our team has held weekly meetings since our first workshop in August. Over this time, our team has grown to include new young people from all over the city. Each has brought incredible and unique creativity, talents, and histories to our team, and each has helped inform what it means to revolutionize the role of youth. Many take multiple buses to make our meetings, go to school, juggle multiple jobs, and take care of families on top being part of our team. Their dedication to influencing other youth is truly remarkable.
Team meetings vary week to week. Some highlights include:
- Guest presentation and consultation from the founder of UQ Marketing
- Guest presentation and consultation from a co-founder of Punjit mobile app
- Business plan consultation with BUILD-UR-IMPACT
- Interview and consultation with a Stanford Journalism student
- Team dinners
CORO Fellows Pitch Night – November 2015
Team members Charles Breed and Michael Fu attended the annual CORO Fellows Pitch Night to gain first hand experience on what social innovation development looks like in the real world. This was Charles’ first such experience. Not only did he gain valuable insight into what differentiates good from great business ideas and presentations, but he also was able to put his keen networking abilities to use. Here he is enjoying some snacks after all that hard work!
Retreat – November 2015
Through the generosity of Success Center, My Homie’s Couch was able to put on a 2-day business retreat. This was the first time many of our youth team members had participated in such an event. To paraphrase Mastin Hunter, “this is the best retreat I’ve ever been on, and the first one that actually really meant something.”
Here’s a snapshot of what we did:
- Loaded up the van and hit the road with Momma Lizze (Liz Simpson) at the wheel.
- Site visit to REACH Ashland Youth Center (San Leandro)
- Lunch at Nation’s Giant Hamburgers (Oakland)
- Site visit to Youth Uprising (Oakland)
- Dinner and free time at Dave and Busters (Milpitas)
- Check-in at hotel, debrief of day, and team member films (Sunnyvale)
- Breakfast at hotel (Sunnyvale)
- Work time at Stanford School of Medicine (Stanford)
- Working lunch (Stanford)
- Workshop session facilitated by guest speaker, Daniel Kim (Stanford)
- Wrap up
You can learn more at our My Homie’s Couch GoFundMe page (www.gofundme.com/successcenter). Join us and help youth regain their voice.