The HYPE Center is an initiative of Freedom Forward, an organization that is working to prevent the commercial sexual exploitation of youth in San Francisco by transforming the systems that too often lead to their exploitation. Before launching HYPE, we spent a lot of time talking to youth about their experiences and what pushed them into homelessness, the sex trade, and situations of exploitation.
We kept hearing from youth that it was hard to navigate the resources and services available in San Francisco and that too often when they would reach out for support, they would find they weren't eligible for various reasons. We believed things could be different-- that there could be an easier way for youth to access the things they needed-- and so the HYPE Center was born. The HYPE Center allows youth to access the services, resources, and activities they want under one roof or through one platform.
We believe that spaces for young people should be designed by young people. The HYPE Center, which stands for Helping Young People Elevate
, was designed by a group of Youth Founders
ages 16-25. This process involved surveying other youth, developing a name, mission, and logo, setting-up the center, and identifying initial partners and services.
Our Youth Founders surveyed over one hundred other youth in San Francisco to find out what their needs were. Based on the results of their survey, and based on their own lived experience, our Youth Founders categorized the services and support most needed by youth into the nine categories below. Youth Founders identified and approached initial providers about partnering and providing services at the HYPE Center. What we offer you today is the product of all of their hard work.