Founded in 1996, the San Mateo County Sheriff's Activities League, SAL reaches over 2,500 underserved youth and teens living in San Mateo County with a dynamic range of education, recreation, arts, mentoring, gang prevention programs. These programs are designed to help young people develop their leadership and academic skills and learn healthy life styles. SAL programs foster positive relationships between deputies and youth to build the bond between law enforcement and youth. SAL youth participants range in age from 5 to 18 years old.
The San Mateo County Sheriff's Activities League (SAL) has five program focus areas:
Positive Partnerships -- Building the Bond Between Cops and Kids
All of the SAL programs have the goal to build the bond between cops and kids as part of a model program from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (O.J.J.D.P.'s). Studies have shown that if a young person respects a police officer on the ball field, gym or classroom, the youth will likely come to respect the laws that police officers enforce. Such respect is beneficial to the youth, the police officer, the neighborhood and the business community.
Law enforcement connections are implemented in to all programs that SAL offers.
SAL Healthy Kids -- Shaping Bright Futures
Studies show that eating nutrition--rich foods, getting plenty of exercise and having a mentor who will help you see these through has a huge impact on the health of a child's body AND their brain. There are three key components of the SAL Healthy Kids Program:
Eat Right involves children and parents in the hands-on experiences of learning about healthy foods through cooking and eating. (Latino Campaign/ UC Cooperative extension) Also athletic coaches share the Champions for A Change curriculum Power Play.
Get Active includes participation in the S.A.L.'s Athletic Programs; SAL's Monthly Fitness Challenges; and SAL's Family Community Service/Special Events of a physical nature.
Targeted Mentoring provides case management and assigned health coaches to youth who could use a little extra help when it comes to staying on track with their nutritional eating and exercise programs. It's like having their own personal trainer.
Mentoring -- Ensuring Academic and Social Achievements
Sometimes knowing you have a steady friend who will show up week after week to offer a listening ear, an hour of doing something fun, or conversation on the topic of one's choice can go a long, long way to bolstering a child's self-confidence. Thanks to SAL's Mentoring Program, dedicated volunteers agree to meet with their mentees at the SAL Chapter office or a prearranged business site for just these kinds of activities. It has been demonstrated that a trusting relationship with a caring adult can have a life-changing effect on a young person. Research data indicates that mentoring programs have reduced first-time drug use by almost 50% and first-time alcohol use by 33%, as examples. In addition, mentored youth display greater confidence in their schoolwork and improved academic performance.
Leadership Training -- Developing Tomorrow's Leaders
We aren't born with leadership skills -- we learn them. And with them, we become empowered; empowered to lead, to participate, to collaborate, to do things we'd never before thought possible; things that allow us to make a positive impact in our lives, in our communities, in our families and in our schools. Teaching teens leadership skills is what TLC is all about. TLC uses Stanford University's Gardner Center YELL curriculum. YELL promotes youth as partners, resources and leaders in their communities by partnering them with community leaders who share their own experiences and pathways to success and who sponsor these youth on field trip activities that broaden their world. The leadership skills learned are practically applied as the TLC program participants plan and implement monthly community service projects that benefit their communities.
Character Development -- Establishing Qualities for Success
Character Development Training is more important, now, than ever. In this day of constant news stream, Facebook and Twitter, youth are bombarded with one example after another of a powerful politician, a revered sports player, or an idolized rock star going to jail, being drunk and disorderly, hitting their spouse, and on it goes. Countering this is the mission of S.A.L.'s Character Development Training Program where volunteers work with youth to reinforce the core ethical values of honesty, integrity, dependability, loyalty, and enthusiasm--the core values that make a person's character "good."
Character development is implemented in to all programs that SAL offers.