The New Pathways for Youth Vision

Briana Clark, Director of Programs
Nina Franco, Bilingual Youth Enrollment Coordinator
Michael Ayala Santos, Bilingual Guardian Support Specialist
Julian Arvizu, Bilingual Youth Enrollment Coordinator











New Pathways for Youth (NPFY) is expanding its youth enrollment team, aiming to provide services for 1,000 youth in the Downtown Phoenix area. The program matches youth with mentors to create a stable, nurturing relationship that encourages youth to recognize unwritten possibilities for the future. Combined with the program’s personal development curriculum, life skills training, and case support, the youth have achieved a 95% high school graduation rate, with many going on to pursue postsecondary education.

The NPFY team now includes two bilingual youth enrollment coordinators and a bilingual guardian support specialist under the Director of Programs, Briana Clark. This team is dedicated to expansion and investment in the Maryvale and Central Phoenix areas.

Youth enrollment coordinators plan to enroll 25 to 30 youth per retreat, a 4-day immersive experience where mentors are matched with youth. Five retreats are held per year, with half of the youth attending from Maryvale and the other half from Central Phoenix. Schools partner with NPFY to help identify families and youth who would best benefit from the program. The programs team is continues to create partnerships and relationships in the community that can refer families and youth.

The organization wants to expand to one new neighborhood a year starting in July 2023. This includes expanding the curriculum and development team with trained facilitators to host multiple retreats per year. By 2028, NPFY expects to serve 1000 youth annually.

In the past two years, NPFY enrolled over 50 youth in the program and expanded partnerships with local schools. To support families in any way possible, enrollment coordinators will also find the best programs to serve youth who aren’t a fit for the NPFY program. Clark leads this team and makes informed decisions on success by using indicators like crime, high school graduation rates, health disparities and more.

“I am excited to begin growing New Pathways to a household name,” Clark said. “As we establish New Pathways as a support to each of these communities and build excitement for other students to join and see new possibilities for themselves, we will be able to expand that model into other communities who could benefit from mentoring and the personal development curriculum.”

Bilingual youth enrollment coordinator, Nina Franco, began working with NPFY in 2021. Franco hopes to awaken youth and families to their individual and collective power and liberation. Franco’s vision for her role includes “being as present as I can with what is happening for our youth and families, to give them the opportunity to feel seen and heard. I want to hold space for them to be fully present so they can make a decision that is best suited for them.” Franco will focus on building partnerships in Central Phoenix to  learn how NPFY can best serve this community.

Michael Ayala Santos started as a bilingual guardian support specialist in 2021 with a vision to provide access to available resources to families in need. Experiencing NPFY programming, Ayala Santos got to see firsthand how a mentor can positively impact a student self-perspective. “It was eye-opening to see just how prepared NPFY makes one feel for a commitment like mentorship.”

Newest hire, Julian Arvizu, started in July as a bilingual youth enrollment coordinator and will focus on serving the Maryvale community. Arvizu wants to help youth reach their full potential and become a key team member in expanding the organization’s reach. “The future of this community belongs to the generations that pertain to today’s youth. We can be the first step for them to become the best versions of themselves, despite the obstacles,” Arvizu stated.

NPFY will continue to expand its reach to serve 1000 youth and create 1000 individualized case plans for each unique dream. The enrollment team is building trustworthy relationships with schools, community partners and families, working to become a household name throughout Arizona.

Note: a previous version of this post misidentified the focus areas for Franco and Arvizu.