Innovation Cohort 1

February 2022 – November 2024

Awarded Program Highlights

Pictured: Two youths are sitting on a bench while one adult kneels. They are outside at an event with multiple people featured in the background. All of the individuals are holding an orange net and appear to be focused on the net in their hands.

Save California Salmon

empowers Native American youth in rural Tribal communities through mentorship, internships and cultural and educational opportunities. In 2022, the program offered five free raft trips, including on-land and on-river cleanup, and two Indigenous science and culture-based camps. These events served nearly 500 Native youth and their families. Activities included basketry, fish net making, canoeing, art as civic engagement and more, with experts present to connect culture, history and health with the rivers and fish.

Pictured: Three participants are captured in a candid photo. They’re all standing while one holds a microphone, one holds a camera and the other holds a tablet. All wear yellow shirts with blue writing that says, 'Kids in the Spotlight.' They are pictured in a room with green plants on the wall with a red. vivid sign that says, 'Shoe Repair'

Kids in the Spotlight

is educating Black and Latinx foster youth in LA County about the link between the War on Drugs and substance use disorder. Through production of a documentary and trauma-informed storytelling, youth are learning to lead social justice movements and work through their trauma by sharing their stories and engaging policymakers to bring about policy change in their communities.

Pictured: A group of youth and young adults are gathered during a celebration. Everyone is dressed casually, wearing jeans and sneakers. Some individuals hold balloons and others throw green graduation caps in the air. They are indoors with a white and green balloon arch behind them.

The Community Justice Alliance

in Fresno County is empowering undocumented Latinx youth to advocate for substance use prevention and healing in their communities. Through case management and weekly peer-to-peer meetings, the organization provides wraparound services to support their efforts. The Alliance is also working on a campaign to secure social services investments for California’s undocumented youth.

Learn how our 12 Innovation Cohort 1 partners are piloting and evaluating innovative practices in youth-led activism, peer support and mentoring to identify ways to improve the results and conditions for substance use prevention in California.

Amelia Ann Adams Whole Life Center

San Joaquin County

To empower Black youth in San Joaquin County to be agents of change through youth-led healing circles among peers and youth informing and leading a citywide educational campaign on policy avenues to prevent and reduce substance use.

Asian Health Services

Alameda County

To strengthen the leadership and advocacy skills of underserved Asian youth in Alameda County to reduce substance use, encourage healthy lifestyles, and help youth flourish into future leaders through activism, leadership development and peer-led support.

Community Initiatives

Sacramento County

To empower at-risk Latinx, Black and Asian youth in Sacramento County in an innovative Design Thinking Internship that increases awareness of substance abuse prevention through community outreach and culturally relevant social justice activities that focus on identifying policy, systems and environmental change solutions to improve 14 Sacramento neighborhoods.

Community Justice Alliance, Inc.

Fresno County, Kern County, Madera County, Merced County, Sacramento County, San Joaquin County, Stanislaus County

To empower undocumented Latinx youth in Fresno County and nearby counties to advocate and lead healing and substance abuse prevention efforts in their communities through case management, weekly peer-to-peer meetings and wraparound services.

Hmong Cultural Center of Butte County

Butte County

To reduce the likelihood of substance use disorder among Hmong youth in Butte County by fostering community and social-emotional support through youth-led coalitions and leadership development opportunities.

Kids in the Spotlight, Inc.

Los Angeles County

To empower and educate Black and Latinx foster youth and stakeholders in Los Angeles County about the connections between the War on Drugs and substance use disorder through producing a documentary and increasing the capacity of youth to lead social justice movements and policy change in their communities.

Latinos United for a New America

Santa Clara County

To equip and empower Latinx youth in Santa Clara County to effectively engage with elected and appointed officials through social justice youth development and education.

Mendocino County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services

Mendocino County

To promote resiliency, community and healing and prevent substance use among Native American and Latinx youth in rural Mendocino County through developing culturally responsive programs and leadership groups.

Oakland LGBTQ Community Center

Alameda County

To heal trauma and disrupt racism, homophobia, transphobia and other factors that contribute to disproportionate rates of substance use disorders among queer and trans youth of color in Alameda County through an LGBTQ Youth Leadership Program that utilizes a peer-led wellness and harm reduction curriculum.

Save California Salmon

Del Norte County, Fresno County, Humboldt County, Mendocino County, Sacramento County, San Francisco County, Shasta County, Siskiyou County, Sonoma County, Trinity County, Yolo County

To empower Native American youth in Siskiyou, Humboldt, Shasta, Trinity and Del Norte rural Tribal communities to influence education and environmental policies that affect their schools and neighborhoods through mentorship, internships, and cultural and education opportunities.

Tarzana Treatment Centers, Inc.

Los Angeles County

To build the capacity of 150 Black and Latinx youth leaders in Los Angeles County through engaging them in leadership training that utilizes a harm-reduction drug education curriculum and emphasizes critical thinking, advocacy and skill-building.

Two Feathers Native American Family Services

Humboldt County

To build the capacity of Native American youth and young adult leaders in Humboldt County through an intergenerational youth employment program that promotes the development of leadership and advocacy skills, while also expanding connection to cultural learning and knowledge.