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Mission & History

Our Piece of the Pie (OPP) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping 14- to 24-year-old urban youth become economically independent adults. OPP's unique model is centered on the personal and consistent relationship developed between each youth and a caring, committed and proactive adult staff member. That relationship helps youth overcome barriers and to access support services in fields of best practice in Youth Development, Workforce Readiness, and Academics. We work with youth to achieve the goals of high school graduation, a college degree and/or vocational certification and rewarding post-education employment.

Formerly known as Southend Community Services, OPP has been providing services to children, families, youth and senior citizens in Hartford, Connecticut since 1975. In 2005, following a comprehensive study of community need and organizational strength, the agency changed its name, mission and focus to support only the underserved population of urban youth, ages 14-24. Since that time, OPP has had marked success with this population.

Today we provide a unique combination of individualized case management, education services, employment training and placement, and leadership/life skills to more than 1,600 youth annually through a data-driven culture and a keen focus on outcomes.

The model

At OPP we believe that with access and opportunity, all youth can succeed.

Our programs are effective because we invest in forging and growing a personal, consistent relationship between each youth and a caring, committed, and proactive adult staff member. These adults, called Youth Development Specialists (YDS), are by the side of every youth who participates in our programs, helping them to navigate past barriers and toward high school graduation, a college degree or vocational certification, and rewarding post-education employment.

Upon enrollment, each youth, working with their YDS, develops a comprehensive individualized success plan, with longer-term goals such as graduating from high school broken into smaller steps, e.g. raising class attendance to 90%, or getting tutoring help. Through breaking long-term goals down and supporting the young people in accomplishing each smaller step, OPP provides an accessible route for them to achieve consistent, affirming and sustainable success. In addition, each path is flexible and goals and interim steps can be updated and adjusted based upon a youth’s circumstances or overall change in goal.

Staff make weekly contact to catch up, review and adjust services as needed. Regular communication is key to success with this population.

OPP provides services in two settings: Community and High Schools, working with youth throughout Central and Eastern Connecticut through five program settings. Based on the situation and need, OPP youth receive a blend of Youth Development, Academics, and Workforce Development services. See The Three Pillars for more information.

OPP works with youth as they attain these ultimate goals: High School Diploma, Postsecondary Degree or Credential, and Meaningful Employment.