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Karisma Flores

Youth Development Connections

Mid-Term Assignment: STRIVE

February 15, 2016


STRIVE is an organization that was founded through a collaboration between Sam Hartwell and Tom Rodman. They were two Manhattan-based bankers that were troubled by the chronic unemployment problem facing the residents of East Harlem and other American inner-cities in the 1980s. Rob Carmona was also involved. He was an East Harlem native overcame multiple incarcerations. He eventually earned a Master of Social Work from Columbia University (

They have many locations locally, nationally and internationally. STRIVE has approximately 22 locations throughout the world; in fact, they have locations in Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Maryland, Washington D.C., North Carolina, Louisiana, California, United Kingdom, and Israel.  In Connecticut, there are three locations, Bridgeport, New Haven and Hartford (

The Hartford’s STRIVE is located at 20-28 Sargeant Street, Hartford, CT 06105. The building is on the intersection of Sargeant St. and Garden St. The building is surrounded by houses/apartments. At the end of the street, opposite of Garden Street, is a park; in addition to having the hospital in close proximity. The actual location is located on the third floor of the building. On the first floor, there is a Hartford Police Department substation and Workforce Development. They are another youth serving agency that often partners with Our Piece of the Pie (OPP), another youth servicing agency as well, that is located on the second floor of the building. The majority of the building is used for youth and young adults strive to successful adults.

I interviewed Kendrick Baker. He is the community engagement and partnership coordinator.  According to him, they conduct their outreach and recruitment by having scale presentations. They network with partners. For example, if OPP, the other youth serving agency in the building, was a partner, they would tell them about their service and ask them to refer anyone that they thought needed services. They also go into the community using word of mouth to inform people in the community and STRIVE and their services.  

During the case management process, the client and their case manager identify and discuss the clients need. They also like to know of any other programs that the client is participating in. One aspect of the program that they like to teach to clients is time management. They like to know about other program to teach the client how to manage their time better. They understand that some client have prior engagements such as school, so they try their best to work around the client’s schedule. During this process, they help those that are suffering from substance abuse get and remain sober to obtain and keep some form of employment.

When tracking their clients they make sure they have already built a sustainable relationship to make communicating more comfortable. Tracking the clients are easy because for most of the time they are there. To remain in the program, the client has to check with their case manager on a regular basis. They place 8-15 people in a buddy system that is expected to make tracking easier. After the client graduate, they are considered graduates for life. They have access to any of STRIVE’s locations, even internationally. They check to see if their client secured employment and track how the client is doing.

According to Baker, they have four major programs offered to the clients. The first program they offered to clients is the Employability Workshop. It is a three week workshop that teaches the clients how to client how to market their skills to the employer and how to advocate on their behalf.  STRIVE also offers customer service training which they receive a National Career Readiness certificate. In addition to these programs, they offer the career gear. Career gear takes donations, from retail stores such as Men’s Warehouse and Dress Barn, to clothe the clients that don’t have proper interview attire. If the client comes to the program asking for help in an area that STRIVE does not specialize in such as medical insurance, they refer them to agency that specializes in that particular need.

Youth are expected to answer challenging questions in the work place and real life situations. They are also expect to identify and have confidence in their skills. Youth are expected to identify any limitation around employment so they can be worked around. It is important that the youth remains motivated and engaged. STRIVE pushes the youth to find new connections and resources in the community. They encourage youth to find volunteer opportunities and mentor that can help and be more accessible to the client.



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