Application Criteria

Applicants for the first-year academy, Prepare to SOAR, must meet the following criteria:

Age The applicant needs to be in grades 6-8 (entering grades 7-9 in the next school year).
Residency The applicant needs to reside in one of the greater Bay Area counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo or Solano. Additional counties will be added in future years.
Achievements The applicant is required to have demonstrated an academic capability (C average and above) and be adaptable to a group setting.
A school transcript is required for the application process and at the end of each school semester to evaluate the student’s progress.
Releases and Authorizations Liability and medical releases must be included in the application. Once the participant is selected, court releases (if applicable) and photo authorizations are required prior to the academy start date. The initial photo authorizations are applicable to all future academy sessions and activities. Liability releases and updated medical releases are required every year.
Recommendations An adult recommendation from a parent, legal guardian, social worker, teacher, CASA, or a legal counsel is needed.

Once the youth successfully complete the Prepare To SOAR academy, the first-year graduates will be invited to attend the Learn To SOAR session in the following year. Similarly, the second-year graduates will be invited to attend the Time To SOAR third-year session.

Identification, Selection, and Authorization

SOAR partners with the key children service agencies in the Bay Area counties (e.g., Alameda County Department of Children and Family Services, San Francisco Department of Human Services and local CASA chapters) to identify candidates for our program. Responding to SOAR’s call for candidates, county social workers and/or CASA prepare applications in conjunction with the youth and his/her legal guardian(s). Completed applications are forwarded to SOAR from these agencies for consideration. We do not consider applications submitted directly by foster families.

The selection criteria are reviewed and approved annually by the SOAR Board of Directors, and the selection process is administered by the SOAR selection committee.

Once accepted, county children services agencies obtain the court releases and legal authorizations as needed to support their youth’s participation.

Progression Within SOAR

Once the youth successfully complete the Prepare To SOAR academy, the first-year graduates will be invited to attend the Learn To SOAR session in the following year. Similarly, the second-year graduates will be invited to attend the Time To SOAR third-year session.

Selected SOAR third-year summer program graduates are invited to become a SOAR Junior Counselor.