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My Brother's Keeper Alliance

National Seed Community: Atlanta, GA

Juma Students

From the Streets to Stable Adulthood

Juma Venure’s story is a unique one. Started in 1993 with a single Ben & Jerry’s Shop in San Francisco, Juma was designed to give homeless youth the job experience they need to transition from the streets to a stable adulthood.

Their model has a simple mission: breaking the cycle of poverty. They want to do it by paving the way to work, education, and financial capability for youth across America. Their focus is to provide youth opportunities for employment, education, financial capability, and career support services. Since 2016, they have grown to six centers across the nation, including one center in Atlanta.

Juma has consistently focused on and built expertise in helping youth build careers and become lifelong learners and the indicators speak for themselves.

99 percent of youth that participate in Juma programs go on to graduate from high school.

92 percent enroll in post-secondary education or training.

They also partner with organizations like CHRIS 180 and the Wholistic Stress Control Institute that provide complementary services for youth to gain knowledge of stress and anger triggers, develop coping skills to prevent or deescalate conflict and strategies that foster healthy lifestyle choices.

Juma has been active in Atlanta since 2016.  Their social enterprise model partners with hospitality firms that serve large sports arena concessions.  Juma’s signatureYouthConnect program supports young people to overcome barriers to securing and sustaining employment and connect to future career and education pathways.  One theme that remains constant with Juma is their approach of Youth first, a youth-centered approach that involves youth in planning and in making decisions that affect themselves and others.

Juma Mentors and Students
Juma Students
Juma Student

From a demographic perspective the youth can look different across cities and that can guide the conversation on who are the young people in the cities who need jobs in the first place and what are the other support systems and resources they have.” For example, Atlanta's youth population is older (19-25 years of age) than Juma’s counterparts in the San Francisco Bay Area who generally enter the workforce at 17-19 years old. Highlighting the local differences helps construct the programs to be relevant to the age groups.” explained Robert Lewis Jr., Atlanta’s Site Director “ Also segmentation of data is extremely helpful and has immensely helped in analysis as race demographics and different types of system involvement can impact the outcomes.”

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Social Enterprise model | Corporate Workforce Development & Integration:

Juma has seen success with their stadium partnership from most major league sports leagues (NFL, MLB, MLS and the NBA).   The partnerships give youth an opportunity for employment and earnings by working the concessions during games. Juma aims to provide professional services and well trained, reliable staff to concessionaire partners, becoming the solution to many business issues that are commonly seen in front line staffing.  Juma has aided more than 7,200 youth since their inception through this program.

This is done with the intention of providing low income youth opportunities to earn an income, gain work experience, and help them work toward achieving their goals, whether it’s enrolling in post-secondary education and/or moving onto other more permanent job opportunities that can provide career advancement and family sustaining wages.  Juma is currently in the process of replicating their stadium program with the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks.   Apart from their stadium program, Fedex Freight has been a constant partner for Juma’s hiring program in Atlanta.  Incidentally, the connection with Fedex was made at an MBK Rising event in Oakland.

“So many things play a role in a young person’s life and our role is to be an agent in the theory of change. We approach partnership and collabs humbly, we are here for youth first. Also no work is small to come in the way of Juma achieving the goals, We are willing to play any role necessary for young black men and young men of color…We wish to create a network through which impact can be additive and not duplicative.”

Silver Linings: The Covid 2020 experience

With the pandemic throwing a curveball for all, Juma moved most of their training online. Juma’s sessions gave the enrolled youth ongoing opportunities for engagement. The trainings ranged across topics of social justice, key workforce readiness skills and also provided a space for the youth to process the reality they were facing. Juma also arranged for a panel of Black Entrepreneurs and financial capability workshops to provide instruction and mentorship during the pandemic.

“The results were pleasantly surprising, these sessions saw an average of 200-300 participants, great speakers and high engagement. This was definitely a silver lining for us.” Said Adriane Armstrong, CEO, Juma.  At the end of the year, the engagement numbers spoke a similar story. 

  • 86% of their young population attended one of the virtual workshops which was a key local win.

  • 92% of youth engaged with Juma weekly through the sessions.

  • 97% said they would recommend the program to a friend.

Juma managed to disburse $430,000 in bonuses and stipends during  covid to cover housing and food costs for youth and their families.  In their most recent survey, 79% of the youth in the program in Atlanta credited Juma for getting their most recent job.

Juma Ventures students

Improvement in the flow of communication and tools of change to be made available to youth on the ground, those are the two important factors for the initiative to be a success. It’s important that information is not lost in translation. We also need the City and County to continue to work together to sustain the initiative and have aligned goals as that will be a big part of taking this forward and to create networks of support for our young entrepreneurs. This alignment will also play a big part in the sustainability of the program.”

Robert Lewis Jr.

MBK Partnership & Juma’s Youth-Centered Approach

With the support received from MBK, Juma has been able to collaborate in deeper ways with other organizations as well as strengthen their internal support systems. Juma has managed to hire dedicated managerial staff for their Social Enterprise program. Highlighting the partnership Mr. Lewis Jr. described how Juma has benefited from the the MBK partnership:

  1. Collaborations with like-minded individuals

  2. Exchange of best practices and solutions for partners experiencing the same journey

  3. Real time solutions

In thinking about Juma’s youth-centered approach, CEO, Adriane Armstrong stated: “There are reasons and factors that become barriers for the youth and at Juma it is our belief that  young people are resilient, they inherently have the characteristics and capabilities to do well. So our task is how we translate what we know already exists, into something that gives them a career pathway...Our one line narrative around young people is simple, believe in the potential of young people.”

MBK Rising! Braindate

Juma Ventures, Atlanta, GA

Juma is a nationally recognized youth development organization focused on employment, education, financial capability, and career support services designed to help break the cycle of poverty by paving the way to work, education, and financial capability for youth across America. Juma is continuing to offer job and soft skills training virtually, and working to ensure young people still receive stipends for work they would have completed before the pandemic.


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