Our Piece of the Pie helps 14 to 24 year-old urban youth become successful, economically independent adults. OPP helps young people who face big obstacles. Whether it's poverty, gang threats, brushes with the law, or just some bad breaks in life, OPP focuses on young people the rest of the world seems to have given up on.
Our relationship-centered model is the key to our success. When a young person comes through our doors, he or she’s immediately connected with a trained, caring and proactive adult staff member who serves as a mentor and coach, building a lasting, personal relationship that spans the entire time that young person is enrolled at OPP. These adults, called Youth Development Specialists, help our youth find the spark that ignites their desire to improve their lives. They help young people navigate past barriers, and toward high school graduation, a college degree or vocational certification, and sustained post-education employment -- the keys to economic independence.
Our Piece of the Pie is a highly effective, highly disciplined organization. Our staff is committed to the strategic and efficient stewardship of the organization’s resources to have the greatest impact on the youth we serve. We collect and use abundant data to measure our results, improve programs, and demonstrate success. As a leader in the youth development field, we identify, test, refine and employ best practices as part of our continuous improvement model.
OPP’s unique model offers an effective combination of best practices in academic, employment training, and youth development services and an approach focused on the individual. While every young person receives a combination of academic, employment and youth development services, the exact plan that’s created for each youth addresses his or her specific needs and aspirations.
We are especially proud of our youth and the progress they are making. At OPP, 82% of our youth graduate from high school, compared to the overall graduation rate in Hartford, CT which is less than 65%. On average, 77% of OPP youth who graduate from high school enroll in an Associate’s, Bachelor’s, or vocational program, and 64% are obtaining degrees or certification in those programs. 87% of our youth who are enrolled in community college return for their second year, compared to 52% for full-time students overall. 76% of our employed youth retain employment for more than 12 months.
The following is a typical story: a teen was hanging out with his friends like he did most nights. It struck him that none of them talked about the future; they joked they wouldn’t make it to 20. His new girlfriend kept telling him about this great program at OPP where she had a mentor, an internship and a plan for the future. The next day, he went to OPP and found out they had a sound recording business for teens. He was hooked, and the support he received from his mentor helped him see opportunities he never thought possible. Today, some of those friends are in jail, or worse. Meanwhile, he’s a full time student at a major university. And he says it’s thanks to OPP.