For Young People, Juma is More Than a Job It’s a Stepping Stone to Success

By Giving List Staff   |   October 5, 2021

Alvin Yu wanted to be the first in his family to go to college. But he needed a job to save money. 

Without a lot of job opportunities for a 16-year-old from San Francisco’s Sunnydale neighborhood, Yu caught a break thanks to the local nonprofit Juma. They employed him at a concession stand at Oracle Park – a first job that would set him on a road to success. At Juma, the first job experience is key to unlocking young people’s potential. 

Juma was founded in 1993 with the aim of creating a supportive work environment for low-income and disconnected youth. Their mission is to help young people learn vital job skills, earn an income, and learn to manage their money while laying the foundation for a successful career.

After a baseball season of slinging hotdogs, sodas, ice creams, and other ballpark favorites, Yu saved up enough money to go to San Francisco State University where he studied business management and operations.

“Juma broke down a lot of barriers for me,” Yu says. “It gave me my first job in customer service and taught me soft skills and how to manage conflict.”

The fact that Juma employs young people like Yu means its expert staff are trained in managing young workers who have faced multiple barriers to work. They have control over the hiring and retention of them.

“If a young person is chronically late in any other work environment, they’d get a number of dings and then be fired,” says Juma CEO Adriane Armstrong. “At Juma, if a young person is late, that’s an opportunity for their manager to ask them what’s going on.” 

What’s often the case is that they are having transportation issues or they have enrolled in a GED program that overlaps with work hours, Armstrong points out. In those circumstances, transportation assistance is offered and hours can be shifted to accommodate. With accommodations and clear expectations, Juma youth staff invariably rise to the occasion. It’s the supportive job environment – in addition to career exploration and the supportive community – that makes Juma “work” for so many youth.

Today, Juma operates in 20 sports entertainment venues across the country, making them the largest youth employment social enterprise in the nation, employing roughly 1,000 young people a year. 

As for Yu, he went on to become an employee at Juma and even started his own boba shop across from the stadium where he worked as a teen. After several years of running the café with his wife, also a Juma alum, he decided to sell it to Juma, so that teenagers could have more opportunities to learn important work skills and save up money to pursue their dreams.  

From selling hot dogs to selling a boba business, Yu came full circle. 


Juma Ventures

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Double your donation today!

Through December 31, 2022, every donation of $300 and above will be generously matched by Ahsha and Dylan Haggart up to $15,000.

A $300 donation is enough to provide a stipend to a youth for the full course of Juma’s financial capability, career development, and job readiness workshops. Stipends are critical so youth can afford to attend trainings without giving up their income. That way, they don’t have to choose between showing up for work or preparing for their future. Juma’s goal is to raise enough funds to support 100 youth — money that goes directly into their pockets — through December 31.


Juma strives to break the cycle of poverty by paving the way to work, education, and financial capability for youth across America.
(262) 825-2523
Individual Giving Manager: Jessica Yost

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We know you care about where your money goes and how it is used. Connect with this organization’s leadership in order to begin to build this important relationship. Your email will be sent directly to this organization’s Director of Development and/or Executive Director.

I am dedicated to supporting Juma because I know that my contributions directly impact low-income youth who are intent on improving their lives. Juma provides job skills training, mentorship, career exploration support, financial literacy training, and ultimately, a first job. With positive adult role models and supportive peers, the Juma community is a lifeline to many who face substantial barriers in entering the workforce and who may not otherwise succeed without the support of the organization. I am continually inspired by the Juma youth I meet who, in spite of hardships and disadvantages, remain optimistic and are enthusiastic to take advantage of all that Juma has to offer. The countless success stories of Juma youth that have completed the program are a testament to the commitment and dedication that Juma puts forth in accomplishing its mission.
Jane Thornton

Support the Potential of Young People

Juma Ventures is helping to break the cycle of poverty by paving the way to work, education, and financial capability for youth across America. 

You can help Juma with your support: 

 $1,000: Creates one job opportunity for a Juma youth

$500: Supports one youth to complete the Career Program Series 

$100: Helps youths meet basic needs

Key Supporters

Alaska Airlines
Bank of America
Ahsha and Dylan Haggart
The San Francisco Giants
The Schultz Family Foundation
The Sobrato Family Foundation
Jane Thornton
Michael and Tory Winnick