Breakthrough Foundation

The Breakthrough Foundation was an independent non-profit organization dedicated to changing the direction of thousands of young people’s lives through the Youth at Risk Program. The project won national acclaim for its outstanding results in turning around the lives of young people who were severely at risk for drug abuse, unemployment, and violent crime. The National Institute of Justice studied the Youth At Risk Program and found a significant reduction in recidivism. President George H.W. Bush recognized the Breakthrough Foundation as one of his "thousand points of light."

Independent studies conducted in 1985, 1986, and 1988 of participants of the Youth at Risk program showed that in suceeding years after taking the program felony crime was reduced by up to 50%; drug use was reduced by 33%; truancy was reduced by nearly 75%; and employment hours worked increased by 550%.

A 1984 study showed the Youth at Risk Program group had an overall subsequent incident recidivism rate of 34.7 percent, compared to 55.1 percent for the comparison group (comparable youths who did not participate in the Youth At Risk program). The overall serious offense recidivism rate (18.4 percent) was less than half that of the comparison group (40.8 percent).
National Institute of Justice Evaluation of Youth at Risk Program





From The Network Review, September 1983

Founded over three years ago (in 1980), The Breakthrough Foundation is dedicated to delivering the technology of transformation in communities around the world in which the quality of life is unacceptable by the standards of the people who live there. Breakthrough is involved in projects in 40 cities around the world.


The Breakthrough Foundation has a partnership with Councilman Robert Farrell, who represents the 8th  District of Los Angeles. Located in south central Los Angeles, the 8th District is statistically the poorest in
the city. Breakthrough has presented three Communication Workshops and one Breakthrough Workshop in the 8th District. Participants have included both community leaders and a large number of officials in city and state social service agencies.

Breakthrough also manages the 10-Day Course for Youth at Risk and The Community Workshop. The Community Workshop was developed by Werner Erhard in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1981. During the first two workshops, Werner and the participants grappled with the issues of what is needed to have a community that works, and then participated in a variety of community-oriented programs, including work with halfway houses, the elderly, and juvenile offenders. Eighty-two teenagers, most from the ghettoes and barrios of Oakland, California, participated in the 1982 10-Day Course. During the summer of 1983, 80 youth participated, many of them residents of L.A. 's 8th District.

Several cities around the U.S. are preparing to host the Course in 1984, in conjunction with The Community Workshop.


"One With One" is a project which pairs refugees with American volunteers, who support them in learning English and adjusting to life in their new communities. Launched by Peg van Duyne, "One With One" recently completed the third in a series of two-day trainings for local volunteers, and now has 71 American participants working with refugees from Southeast Asia and the Soviet Union.

Boston was also the launching site for the Project on Disability, a program designed to transform people's relationship with the physically and mentally disabled. The Project was created in partnership with Art Nierenberg, who has been a paraplegic for most of his life. Workshops have been held in New Jersey, Washington, D.C., New York, and Cleveland.

The Workshop and its follow-up programs are offered to the disabled, their friends and family, and health and social service professionals who work with them.


Reducing violent crime in Chicago is the goal of the Safer Foundation, which spends $2.8 million each year toward that goal. The Safer Foundation works with ex-offenders providing job placement, training in basic educational skills, and providing emergency housing, food, and clothing. While the national average of ex-offenders returning to prison is 33 % , the rate for Safer is 11 % .

Breakthrough's partnership with Safer includes three major projects:

• developing strategies, goals, and purposes for Safer
• developing a financial contribution program
• providing Safer with trained volunteers to work with their clients.




Youth At Risk, New York - A not-for-profit, volunteer driven organization committed to transforming the chaotic lives of young people through persistent and compassionate mentoring. Youth At Risk, New York at Youtube

Youth At Risk West - Serving Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties in California, they empower youth to create a positive life worth living. Producing extraordinary results through community mentoring, Youth at Risk’s vision is to unlock futures so that youth in trouble do not have to become adults in trouble.

Colorado Youth at Risk - Focusing on transforming youth, mentors, & the community as a whole.

Youth At Risk, Arizona - Makes possible new futures for children and youth through mentoring and value-driven programs.

New Mexico Youth at Risk - Redirecting the lives of young people to develop and fulfill their own vision and goals

Youth At Risk, UK - Young People Building Better Futures Youth at Risk, UK on Youtube

Youth At Risk and Transform Coaching - Transform Coaching goes back to the origins of the “Youth at Risk” methodology – powerful performance coaching delivered on a foundation of transformational personal development – and couples it with an accreditation from Edinburgh University.

Ballet Hoo! - Ballet Changed My Life - A Youth At Risk UK program - View program on Youtube

Werner Erhard Proves Team Effort Is 'It,'

Breakthrough Foundation at Sourcewatch


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