The purpose of The Empowerment Center is to invest in the social capital of communities in which violence is prevalent by fostering dedicated youth. Social capital is defined as features of social structure, such as trust, norms, and networks that facilitate collective action for mutual benefit. By investing in this social structure, we are developing life skills, confidence, and a sense of advocacy for one's community. We hope that by educating our participants on these essential elements, we will not only produce community leaders but improve the population health.
In January 2010, the San Francisco Wraparound Project was awarded a Hearts Grant by the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation to fund the establishment of a new leadership academy, "The Empowerment Center." With this funding, the Empowerment Center launched its first pilot program in early 2011. Composed of three young participants chosen for their abilities and dedication, The Empowerment Center was set to enlighten these chosen individuals to become leaders and positive influences in their communities.
The first post-pilot round of Empowerment Center activities ran from August 2011 to November 2011 with six clients.