Raising Our Youth as Leaders Project 


The ROYAL Project (Raising Our Youth As Leaders) is a program that provides intensive supportive services and diversion strategies to King County youth involved in the juvenile justice system. We serve youth of color; male and female, ages 14 to 18. We serve youth in Seattle, Renton, and Kent. 75% of our population is male; 25% female; 78% live at poverty level according to HUD guidelines (some are homeless w/no income); 18% live at medium/middle income levels; 4% family income unknown; 90% of first time project clientele have a prior arrest record; 100% owe at least $100.00 in court fines; 50% are gang involved; 30% are affiliated/associated with gangs, meaning they are on the cusp.  

ROYAL is fiscally sponsored by Society of Counsel Representing Accused Persons. However, our budget is entirely separate and we receive no financial support from our parent agency.

Mission Statement
Raising Our Youth As Leaders (ROYAL) is an highly innovative and evaluated and "promising" model. ROYAL holds a 75% success rate at transitioning youth of out the criminal justice system. This success rate is consistent over a 12-year period.These young people, our future leaders accomplish their personal, professional, and educational goals toward success and self-sufficiency.  These young people become social conscious and strong contributing members of society. 

In 2011 and 2012, our evaluation(s) found that ROYAL improved its success rate to 82% for these two years.
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Raising Our Youth as Leaders Project
1401 E Jefferson St Ste 200 
(206) 726-3196 

Debra Robinson 
Executive Director 


Raising Our Youth as Leaders Project Programs

ROYAL provides Case Strategy (Case Management), Life Coaching for youth, and Mentorship services.  Our proprietary 10-pillar curriculum gives us an advantage over many programs.

ROYAL taylors the curriculum specifically for each participant. The model uses specific coaches/mentors and innovative tools to teach participants "how" to think not "what" to think. Many of our participants go on to attend college and/or participate in vocational opportunities.

Other key services includes: professional experience with legal advocacy, educational advocacy, crisis intervention, parent/child relationship building, employment readiness and a networking, various needs assessments, partnership collaboration expertise, community training, partnership with the evidence based practices, and strong community collaborations and networks.

We are the only program in the country to provide life coaching to youth.  In the fall of 2013, we will be offering a leadership academy for our youth whereby they will receive a certificate of completion from a local University.  

Recent Successes and Current Challenges

On March 29, 2012, ROYAL participants testified before the Washington State Supreme Court for The Symposium on Racial Disproportionality in Washington State’s Juvenile Justice System.

ROYAL has worked with these young people for at least a year. The participants are all over the age of 18 and report attending college. They spoke to the Justices and the audience about what's working and not working in the system. The ROYAL participants received a standing ovation and the ROYAL Project received high praise and many contacts of interest about the model.

A taping of the day can be found on TVW - Task Force on Race and Criminal Justice. ROYAL would like to increase our funding to serve more youth in our model. We are limited to 60 youth per year ROYAL is a "Promising Program" and would love funding to seek an evaluation for becoming an evidence based practice. We have expressed interest for replication from other geographic areas including Washington DC, Chicago, Portland, Virginia, and Baltimore.

We are interested in creating an opportunity for our youth to participate in higher learning.  We are building our Young Genius Leadership Academy with a local University.  We would like our youth to learn about themselves.  We would like to give them tools for changing the landscape of our communities and the world for the better. Our ultimate goal is to involve this population of youth with higher education and the possibilities that are offered.  Our young people have a heart for change but they feel underserving of such opportunities.  Please support us in making these opportunities possible.

We are requesting $25,000 in order to support this initiative.  It would serve 60 youth in the year.


ROYAL provides culturally relevant mentoring and life coaching for a youth population that greatly needs mentors and adults that reflect their own cultural identity.

Proven Success
ROYAL was named the most efficient and cost effective program related to youth violence intervention by the City of Seattle Human Services Department Gang Needs Assessment Project.

Best Practices 
ROYAL is successful with its approach because it employs wrap-around support and services that address the root causes of its client’s problems, rather than just the symptoms.

The organization uses a unique formal curriculum that ensures program consistency and quality control. The curriculum has a strong focus on building sustainability with at-risk youth through employment opportunities. Its programs are researched-based and it maintains a strong evaluation matrix.

Staff are trained in de-escalation and in some cases are the only positive adults in a young person’s life. Thirty percent of the youth ROYAL works with are gun ready.

ROYAL has developed strong collaborations with youth and family service organizations as well as the Society of Counsel Representing Accused Persons. It regularly works with the Alive and Free Program and Therapeutic Health Services.

Grant History with The Seattle Foundation:

Grants Awarded through The Seattle Foundation Grantmaking Program:

9/10/2009 $20,000.00support general operating expenses.
8/7/2009 $7,500.00to support ROYAL's youth violence intervention training and an employment specialist.


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