MANILA, Philippines — Soulciety is a nonprofit organization founded in 2008 in Hayward, California. As an organization, their vision is that all youth will have equal opportunity to a life filled with purpose and prosperity. According to their website, Soulciety is focused on workforce and creative development both at home and abroad. Soulciety’s Bridge Program provides computers to boost education in the Philippines
The organization’s employment program focuses on finding internships, job placements and career pathways for system-involved youth and young adults, such as those who are on probation or in foster care. Its ultimate goal is to help these young people make a living wage while pursuing their career interests and life’s purpose both locally and globally.
Soulciety stands for the child who faces challenges, the “high risk” child that falls into the criminal justice system. These children are subjected to a disproportionate level of negative environmental factors and are left to their own devices without support or guidance to transition into a “positive and productive adulthood.”
Around the world, Soulciety has worked mainly in impoverished communities in the rural Philippines. Soulciety collaborates with mentors from its headquarters in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond to bring a variety of workforce development programming and aid to thousands of children, thereby boosting education in the Philippines.
Aaron Horner, co-founder and co-executive director of operations for Soulciety, said that the organization started as a way to address the inequality in people’s ability to pursue their dreams. The group started locally but is acting on behalf of impoverished, underprivileged and underserved youth in communities halfway around the world.
Horner said that his business partner Ron Carino went to the Philippines to provide cultural enrichment by way of teaching dance in rural villages. Through his exposure to their situation, he saw that these people did not have shoes, so they started a program to send shoes over to the Philippines. From there the people at Soulciety realized that they could not only provide resources to those who needed them, but that they could fundamentally change the way the children are educated by providing a computer to a village that had no access to technology from this century — thus began Soulciety’s Bridge Program.
Soulciety’s Bridge Program has benefited education in the Philippines by providing aid and educational workshops to youth in rural areas. The objectives of this program are as follows:
- Improve education and employability through computer literacy and access to technology and education
- Enhance creative development through access to quality performing arts exposure and education
The program’s success has been notable, as it has donated over 16,000 hygiene supplies, 10,000 school materials and 300 computers to rural Philippine schools. Horner mentioned that Soulciety partners with the Stride Center in nearby Oakland to acquire and refurbish the computers that they send to the Philippines with the help of LBC, the largest Filipino shipping company in the world. LBC takes care of the shipping cost so that Soulciety only pays the tax on the computers. From start to finish, The Bridge Program’s collaborative spirit provides opportunity and enrichment for all involved.
Soulciety’s approach to serving underprivileged youth is “relentless” in helping them to overcome the barriers that society has left in their paths. The organization feels a deep connection with the work that they do, and to helping the youth — both at home and abroad.
Horner made it apparent in an interview at their Hayward facility that Soulciety’s work is about more than just helping young people to fit into society and overcome the obstacles that it places before them. It is about empowering them to find passions of their own and to help put them on a path toward economic stability and personal growth, by providing them with the resources they need to learn and express themselves.
Click here to donate to Soulciety.
– Aaron Parr