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Video: Introduction to ROYAL

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Formed in March 2003, ROYAL - Realizing Our Youth as Leaders, Inc. (ROYAL) is a young non-profit organization dedicated to providing at-risk youth with the skills to identify positive opportunities that break the cycle of limited choices that inevitably leads to negative social consequences. ROYAL was created by Ms. Maggie de Vera who, because of her years of experience as a Clinician, Administrator, Family and Child Advocate, Social Worker working in the field, and as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, recognized a gap in effective services for a growing population of forgotten children. ROYAL has demonstrated success in working intensively with children, adults, and families who have significant behavioral, emotional and mental health issues.

ROYAL has developed collaborations with the Department of Social Services, Department of Human Services, Department of Public Health, Child Protective Services, the Foster Care System and related agencies, the Department of Juvenile Probation, various Unified School Districts, drug/alcohol rehabilitation programs outpatient clinics, crisis centers, County Mental Health, and other non profit agencies serving families and youth.

What We Do

The mission of the agency is to prepare disadvantaged and/or at-risk youth, ages 5 to 18, for success in life by providing therapeutic counseling services as well as training in personal empowerment and family and community leadership. Through exposure to focused mentoring and engaging enrichment opportunities, ROYAL develops proper social skills and utilizes resources outside their personal awareness, to create an opportunity for youth to utilize what they have learned by developing or participating in charitable efforts.

Utilizing focused techniques and approaches learned from years of successful experience in the mental health and counseling fields, ROYAL seeks to impact disenfranchised youth through an effective support process that includes positive attention and nurturing, collaboration/linkage to other programs and services, academic support, and through therapeutic interventions that focus on guidance, positive role models, and significant life skills training. Our objectives are:

  • To enhance self-esteem and self worth
  • To provide opportunities to explore positive interactions and accomplishments
  • To facilitate tolerance activities that enhance empathy and sensitivity towards those of differing ethnic or cultural origins and/or sexual preferences
  • To provide a nurturing environment that is safe and fosters a sense of belonging
  • To develop personal awareness, an understanding of self and others
  • To provide support to an underserved and neglected population in a manner sensitive to mental health, cultural, community and disability issues

Those We Serve

ROYAL provides services to boys and girls, ages 5 to 18, as well as their families. Comprised of all races and sexual orientation, this population is disadvantaged, at-risk and disenfranchised. On a daily basis they often face multiple issues including neglect, poor backgrounds, dangerous/chaotic living environments (home and community), abuse and/or a history of mental health and behavioral issues. Additionally, every day they can be familiar with academic failures and domestic violence, and see firsthand the impact of neighborhood gangs. Some are on probation, some are experiencing drug and alcohol issues, and some are in mental health programs for youth and family. These children are referred from community outreach efforts, County Social Services, County Mental Health Services, and sometimes by the court system.

Where We Help

Our current facility is in San Franciscos Noe Valley and provides a structured, nurturing environment as an alternative to negative activities in home or community. This is our place, where youngsters are safe and comfortable, a place where they can receive positive attention, supervision, and guidance from successful adult role models, and where they can benefit from enrichment programs and activities. ROYAL strongly believes that building self-esteem improves academic performance as well as the ability to succeed overall in life. It is our goal, either through collaboration or construction, to provide expanded services in a larger Drop-In Center. This facility will provide all the existing services that ROYAL offers and will incorporate an After School Tutorial Program. Designed to help youth meet classroom challenges that are preventing them from succeeding at their grade level, the After School Tutorial Program will enable youth to access homework assistance in a safe, structured environment. Staffed by volunteer students or interns one on one and group homework assistance will be open from 3:00pm to 8pm.


ROYAL provides an array of services that address specific needs of at-risk youth. These services improve self-esteem and assist youth in making better choices. The most important outcomes are that they become positive role models for peers, siblings and other community youth, exhibit self-control and tolerance, and move towards personal growth. We expect positive change from our young participants, and are looking for the following results:
  • Participants learn life, social communication and coping skills
  • Participants become a positive role model for peers and siblings
  • Participants learn the concept of integrity
  • Participants engage facets of community outside current closed experiences
  • Participants expand their knowledge and perspectives and confront their fears of social issues they are unfamiliar with
  • Families and/or Caregivers receive support, guidance and education to assist in participant development
  • Participants demonstrate their progress through a process that includes volunteering, mentoring, setting goals and moving towards self-sufficiency.
  • Participants shine!

Evaluation Component

Program and participant evaluations are comprised of a series of benchmark activities tracked on standardized forms that indicate engagement in activities, pre and post assessments, treatment plan/treatment plan updates, input from family, school, treatment team members and other social service providers, and demonstrated progress in meeting listed Outcomes.