America On Track

Creating Brighter Futures for Communities & Youth since 1995

Santa Ana, CA   |  www.AmericaOnTrack.org

Mission

America On Track is about hope, opportunities, and life-transforming programs. Founded in 1995, AOT provides services to over 44,000 unduplicated individuals per year and 91 cents of every dollar goes directly to client support. AOT has been awarded more than 20 Local, State, and National Awards for outstanding service to the community. America On Track’s mission is to inspire Brighter Futures by building youth leaders, supporting families, and strengthening communities through life-transforming programs. Our vision is to create more vibrant communities by addressing social inequities and health disparities through evidence-based programs that focus on leadership development, mentoring, academic achievement, fitness and nutrition, and tobacco/drug use prevention.

Ruling year info

1996

Executive Director

Claire Braeburn

President

Terry Thompson

Main address

600 W Santa Ana Blvd. Suite 710

Santa Ana, CA 92701 USA

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EIN

33-0724044

NTEE code info

Youth Development Programs (O50)

Family Services (P40)

Physical Fitness/Community Recreational Facilities (N30)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

In 1995, with a passion to help the most vulnerable children and families, America On Track, an independent 501(c)(3) organization was founded after researching the needs and critical problems facing Orange County communities. Through ongoing research, America On Track has been aware of and has taken action to address the rampant problems of the opioid & vaping crisis, the vulnerability of children of prisoners, the obesity problem affecting the health of people of all ages and the urgency to involve our youth in leadership programs. The need, which is incorporated in our vision, is to inspire brighter futures by building youth leaders, supporting families, and strengthening communities through life-transforming programs. America On Track believes in the importance of addressing social inequities and health disparities through evidence-based programs that focus on leadership development, mentoring, academic achievement, fitness & nutrition, and tobacco/drug use prevention.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Brighter Futures for Children of Prisoners

America On Track has a highly customized, time-proven program for children of prisoners that was launched in 2004. Our Brighter Futures for Children of Prisoners program is designed to empower the most vulnerable high-risk youth in our society by providing them with opportunities for life-long success.

The key elements of our Brighter Futures program consist of five major components that work synergistically to reinforce positive core values, education and self-esteem to ultimately benefit the youth as well as our communities.

One component is our yearly College Is For Me Too! summer camp held at Cal State Fullerton for mentees ages 11 to 17. It is a structured 3-day/2-night experience designed to inspire mentees regarding the importance of education and planning for the future. They sleep in dorms, take campus tours, enjoy fitness coaching in the kinesiology gym and participate in a variety of workshops and fun STEM activities.

The one-on-one Mentoring component consists of recruiting, training and matching adults to serve as positive role models. Mentors must agree to meet with their mentees for at least 2 hours, four times per month for a minimum of one year. Mentors must turn in online mentor activity notes monthly that are reviewed by the Program Director and serve as a way to track progress or problem issues.

Mentees are often matched with mentors for 2 to 6 years, actually working with them through middle school and high school. Mentors may attend fun events hosted by AOT. Also, staff members track the mentees by staying in touch with social workers, teachers, and the families.

The STEM component includes activities and AOT-hosted outings, such as an afternoon at an architectural firm, to introduce the youth to careers within various STEM fields. Films on robotics, plus hands-on exciting activities in careers for the future, expose the mentees to new options they may not have considered or even knew existed.

The Wraparound services/resources are ongoing based on individual family needs and a series of nutrition seminars are also provided because the parents and/or guardians of the mentees desperately need our help. Plus free, age-appropriate new books are distributed throughout the year.

Special events are hosted by AOT throughout the year, such as our yearly annual holiday party where everyone receives gifts, awards, great food and more. Also outings to plays and Honda Center events take place 4 to 6 times per year.

Population(s) Served

America On Track’s Emerging Leaders for Civic Engagement program is a multi-faceted after-school program to inspire today’s youth to become tomorrow’s leaders through a focus on academics, future careers including STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) opportunities, training in public speaking skills, fitness & nutrition, drug use prevention, exposure to the arts and involvement in community engagement.

The Emerging Leaders for Civic Engagement (ELCE) program is about developing future leaders, providing life-transforming opportunities and creating life-long volunteers! The program has a 23-year science-based track record and was awarded the Presidential Award for Outstanding Services to Youth in 1999. ELCE has evolved over the years while teaming up with educators, civic leaders, outstanding high school students, and elementary school children.

Additionally, ELCE offers a synergistic forum for all participants to value the importance of civic engagement, develop a love of volunteering, strong public speaking skills, positive values, better fitness skills, and a love of books and knowledge to accelerate a successful future.

Population(s) Served

The On Track Through Fitness project is a comprehensive physical activity, health, and nutrition program that directly serves K-12 students to help them meet State Standards. On Track Through Fitness was designed by incorporating multiple evidence-based model programs to serve disadvantaged youth living in the most impoverished neighborhoods in Orange County, California. America On Track, with collaborative community partners, addresses critical gaps as well as enhances health and fitness services at the target schools.

America On Track’s philosophy is in harmony with the California Physical Education Framework: “Physical education is a multifaceted process that teaches a wide range of skills and activities with the aim of the students’ becoming physically educated, physically fit, able to enjoy a variety of physical activities, and committed to lifelong health and physical well-being. It is a continuing process of articulated, sequential development of skills, talents, attitudes and behaviors.”

America On Track provides the following:

• Structured Physical Education classes utilizing an evidence-based curriculum
• Active Recess with the On Track Fitness Fun Zone program
• Active Play training for teachers and parents
• Painted Playground stencils
• Best-practice physical activity-related policies
• Collection of CA FitnessGram measurements for all grade levels
• Professional development for school staff and physical education specialists

Population(s) Served

Since 1998, America On Track has been implementing comprehensive strategic approaches to help youth and families develop lifelong fitness and healthy nutrition habits. Our projects focus on building healthier neighborhoods by involving school administrators, youth, parents, businesses and communities in advocacy strategies to implement systems and activities that will support health-promoting environments.

Our goal is to take a pivotal role in creating healthy communities by utilizing a collective impact approach and implementing proven techniques to motivate people to increase consumption of healthy foods and improve self-efficacy in order to promote personal change, as well as change within the family and the environment. Through local, state, county and federal grants America On Track has been a leader in promoting healthy communities.

How It Works:

America On Track provides comprehensive nutrition education, physical activity promotion, and corresponding environmental strategies that are coordinated to impact multiple spheres of influence, including individuals, institutions, and the surrounding environments, in order to make the healthy choice the easy choice.

Our synergistic components include:
• Nutrition Education Classes for Youth & Adults
• Healthy Shopping Store Tours
• Food Demonstrations
• Resident Leadership & Advocacy Training
• Nutrition and physical activity-related policies
• Healthy Snack & Re-Think Your Drink Booths at Community Events

Population(s) Served

Since 1997, America On Track has been taking a leading role in Orange County to successfully implement tobacco & vape use prevention programs. Our projects are designed to change social norms regarding tobacco use and vaping, lower youth access to tobacco, and reduce residents’ exposure to secondhand smoke through direct services and policy work. These ongoing initiatives are having a positive impact in our communities.

America On Track plays an important role in addressing tobacco control issues in Orange County by incorporating policy and system change-focused goals with intentional collaboration and community engagement strategies.

A rapid public health response which mitigates negative persistent factors is needed to disrupt tobacco use rates in certain groups, to reach communities and jurisdictions which are still currently underserved in tobacco control, and to prevent the next generation of youth from a lifelong addition to nicotine.

America On Track is implementing two comprehensive tobacco prevention projects aimed at Lowering Youth Access to Tobacco and Reducing Exposure to Secondhand Smoke.

Lowering Youth Access to Tobacco

America On Track implements the following activities to decrease, stop and reverse youth e-cigarette use:

• Vaping prevention education for youth
• Parent town hall meetings, in partnership with law enforcement and school administrators
• Youth tobacco control leadership clubs at high schools
• Merchant education
• Social sources campaign
• 5 Star Merchant recognition program

Reducing Exposure to Secondhand Smoke

The goal of the On Track for a Tobacco-Free Orange County project is to address social determinants of health and to reduce health disparities that are prevalent in communities with a high Latino population and high percentages of low socioeconomic status and limited-education individuals. America On Track works synergistically with priority populations as we move towards ending the tobacco epidemic altogether.

America On Track’s goal is to continue engaging in activities that facilitate the adoption and implementation of policies that reduce residents’ exposure to secondhand smoke, such as: Smoke-Free City policies in Santa Ana and Buena Park; Voluntary Smoke-Free Multi-Unit Housing policies throughout Orange County; and policies eliminating the sale and distribution of menthol and other flavored tobacco products in the cities of Costa Mesa and Stanton.

Population(s) Served

In order to prevent the onset and reduce the progression of substance misuse, America On Track implements a comprehensive Drug Use Prevention Education program for elementary, middle, and high school students.

The specific drug use problems that have been identified by America On Track as being primary strategic targets for current and future community action are alcohol/binge drinking, tobacco/vaping, marijuana, opioids (including heroin), and methamphetamines.

America On Track promotes healthy alternatives to risky behavior.

Our multi-week drug use prevention activities are designed to:

• Teach students the necessary skills to resist social pressures to smoke, drink, and use drugs
• Help students to develop greater self-esteem and self-confidence
• Enable students to effectively cope with anxiety
• Increase their knowledge of the immediate consequences of substance abuse
• Enhance cognitive and behavioral competency to reduce/prevent health risk behaviors

America On Track also conducts 1-hour single-session presentations on the drug prevention topics identified above, for both youth and adult audiences

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Awards

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

America On Track, an award-winning nonprofit, aims to continue implementing life-transforming programs that have reached hundreds of thousands of children and families over the past 25 years. America On Track currently serves 44,000 unduplicated people per year.

Over the past 25 years, America On Track has received 21 awards and commendations celebrating the success of programs that have achieved meaningful and measurable results. Recognition has come from the local, state and national level.

The goal is to reduce youth substance misuse in order to address the opioid & vaping crisis, help the forgotten children of prisoners achieve their dreams and stay out of juvenile hall, guide youth and adults toward making healthier choices & reduce the obesity problem causing diabetes and other diseases, and train youth as emerging leaders so they can be role models to other youth and become life-long volunteers.

AOT believes in the importance of holistic leadership. AOT will continue to build and streamline an effective organization that involves teamwork, collaboration, diversity, innovation, and co-operation. America On Track will continue to convert purpose and vision into action, which means that all staff members, including the Co- Founders Claire Braeburn & Terry Thompson, have hands-on experience working in the field with volunteers, schools, disadvantaged families, mentors, community partners and leaders. Working with thousands of people from many different walks of life is an enriching and motivating aspect of America On Track’s work.

Serving more than 44,000 Orange County children and families each year, America On Track breaks the cycle of poverty, incarceration and hopelessness through long-term youth development, education and life-enhancing programs.

America On Track achieves its goals in 7 unique ways:

1. America On Track’s Emerging Leaders for Civic Engagement Program ~ a multi-faceted after-school program to inspire today’s youth to become tomorrow’s leaders through a focus on academics, future careers including STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) opportunities, training in public speaking skills, fitness & nutrition, drug use prevention, exposure to the arts and involvement in community engagement.

2. Physical Education & Nutrition Programs for schools and communities ~ Since 2006, America On Track has successfully implemented innovative, comprehensive Federal Physical Education Program grants in 21 different schools in disadvantaged neighborhoods. These grants incorporate sports, fitness and nutrition objectives, as well as a collaborative approach. Additionally, AOT has incorporated a fitness component in our Teen Emerging Leaders program since 1996.

3. Brighter Futures for Children of Prisoners Program ~ America On Track’s Brighter Futures for Children of Prisoners program was developed in 2004 to create opportunities for children of prisoners who are innocent victims of challenging environments with adverse childhood experiences. AOT is the only agency in OC specifically providing comprehensive services to children of prisoners and their families.

4. The On Track Adult & Youth Leadership Development Programs ~ AOT creates strong collaborations and gains the trust of residents in the communities where we work in order to become active partners. We do not just go into a community to accomplish a scope of work, but rather we are dedicated to getting to know the community, working together and achieving improved health outcomes together through our leadership development programs.

5. Alcohol, Tobacco, and Drug Prevention Education Programs – designed to change social norms regarding tobacco use and vaping, lower youth access to tobacco, reduce residents’ exposure to secondhand and thirdhand smoke through direct services and policy work, and prevent the onset and reduce the progression of substance misuse.

6. Parent Education Classes & Health Seminars ~ are provided to help motivate community members to increase consumption of healthy foods and improve self-efficacy in order to promote personal change, and change within the family and the environment.

7. Linking Policy and Environmental Strategies to Health Outcomes ~ in order to help create environments that support healthy behaviors, America On Track works to implement policy, systems, and environmental changes through the built environment in numerous cities and at various sites where people live, pray, learn, work and shop.

America On Track has a 25-year proven track record and all staff members are highly skilled to administer various key programs: mentoring, leadership, fitness and nutrition and tobacco/drug use prevention programs. Additionally, the staff has played a leadership role initiating health policies in Orange County.

Terry Thompson, President, has over 30 years of leadership training and business experience and over 24 years of working with disadvantaged families. She has experienced every aspect of creating and implementing successful programs for the specific needs of targeted communities. Terry can also empathize with the diverse families America On Track serves because she can relate to their struggles and has English as a second language.

In spite of a challenging childhood, she managed to put herself through college. She graduated magna cum laude from CSULB with a BA in literature and went on to complete a 2-year MFA program. She later received her Certified Financial Planner designation from USC, and went on to establish a successful financial planning business. However, her desire to help disadvantaged families inspired her to do research, change careers and co-launch America On Track with Claire Braeburn in 1995.

Claire Braeburn, Co-Founder and Executive Director, graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and has hands-on experience working in high-risk areas, building collaborations, and inspiring volunteers and employees. Claire has become a master juggler in terms of handling all aspects of building and expanding America On Track. Her passion and dedication have touched the hearts of thousands of youth and families in Orange County. Claire also received her Certification in Financial Planning and Management for Nonprofit Organizations from CSUF.

Terry Thompson and Claire Braeburn have designed and implemented multi-faceted unique programs that have had life-transforming impacts with children and families. Over the years, AOT has evolved into the award-winning nonprofit that serves 44,00 unduplicated individuals per year.

Alejandra Cook started as a volunteer with America On Track in our Emerging Leaders program in 1998. After attending California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), Alejandra joined AOT as a staff member in 2005. She has experience with all of America On Track's programs and has strong relationships with many key collaborators throughout Santa Ana and Orange County. Alejandra has played a key role in policy implementation such smoke-free parks and apartments. She is also fluent in Spanish.

AOT’s existing staff members have a practical knowledge of working with youth, community members, businesses/merchants, schools, and leaders and are well qualified to plan, implement and evaluate our numerous public health programs. They have been instrumental in achieving and exceeding desired outcomes.

Over the past 25 years, America On Track has received 21 awards and commendations celebrating the success of programs that have achieved meaningful and measurable results. Recognition has come from the local, state and national level.

Additionally, from 1995 to 2020 America On Track has been the recipient of dozens of competitive multi-year government grant awards, as well as corporate and foundation grants, that have helped transform the lives of hundreds of thousands of children and their families.

America On Track has numerous ways of gauging success with youth, families and our communities. In addition to awards, AOT has received hundreds of positive testimonials and has achieved the Top-Rated designation with Great NonProfits.

For the past 23 years, AOT has used the services of a renowned national science-based evaluation firm, and their President has stated the following: “Based on my experience, I think you have one of the most outstanding leadership and youth development programs I have examined.”

We send our children of prisoners to college and trade schools and guide them away from drugs and juvenile hall. We receive thank you notes from their guardians. Here is a recent email from a mentee’s mother (with us for 2 years): “Thank you guys for making us part of your family as Angel is happy and has enjoyed each and everything the program has done not only for him but for us as a whole.”

In 2009 upon receiving the Women Making a Difference Award ~ State Senator Lou Correa recognized Terry Thompson and Claire Braeburn for extraordinary dedication and contribution to the Orange County community.
“These women go above and beyond every day to make Orange County a better place for my constituents,” stated Senator Correa. “They are an inspiration to us all, and I thank them for their hard work and continued public service.”

AOT has also been successful in implementing numerous policies. Since 2010, America On Track has been implementing California Tobacco Control Projects to reduce secondhand smoke exposure in Orange County. These efforts focus on legislative and voluntary policy work and have yielded the following results:

• Smoke-Free Parks City Ordinance ~ Passed July 2018 ~ City of Stanton
• Smoke-Free Parks City Ordinance ~ Passed February 2012 ~ City of Santa Ana
• 79 Multi-Unit Housing complexes (representing 5,294 residential units) adopted a voluntary 100% smoke-free policy, including individual units and balconies
• 39 Licensed Residential Child Care Facilities adopted 100% smoke-free policies for their properties
• 39 Restaurants adopted smoke-free outdoor dining policies
• 2 Trade Schools adopted 100% smoke-free policies for their campuses

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    SMS text surveys, Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Case management notes, Community meetings/Town halls, Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve,

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback,

Financials

America On Track
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

America On Track

Board of directors
as of 9/12/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Patrick Ross

Haskell & White LLP

Term: 2010 -

Donnie Crevier

Crevier Classic Cars

Michael Chilleen

Sheppard Mullin

Thomas Creato

Creato Consulting

Mike Lake

Crevier BMW & Mini

Mike Kilbride

Kilbride Engineering

Terry Thompson

America On Track

Claire Braeburn

America On Track

Patrick Ross

Haskell & White LLP

Steven Weber

Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management

Heather Grover

Experian Health

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No