In 2002, a group of eight college students from Hope International University decided they wanted to live out their Christian faith by loving their neighbor as themselves. They soon discovered that there was a small under resourced neighborhood called the GEM District just a few blocks away in the city of Fullerton, California. The area was characterized by gang violence, drug trafficking, and poor housing conditions. Multiple families were sharing a one-bedroom apartment and there were over 3,000 people living in a two-block radius. After months of praying and seeking direction, the group of students decided to immerse themselves in the GEM District to start a new and exciting journey.
For the first few weeks, the group went into the street and asked some of the neighborhood kids if they wanted to hang out. Eight children decided to join the new visitors in the neighborhood. Relationships started to form over the next couple months and the new visitors eventually became friends and mentors. In late October of 2002, Solidarity officially incorporated as a 501 (c)(3) organization and started their first after-school program, 5 days a week, two hours a day. Over sixty children enrolled in the Solidarity after-school program and the staff later opened a teen center for youth in the local community.
With the number of students growing every year, Solidarity began to look for opportunities to generate more financial resources through a social enterprise strategy. A local business owner heard about this initiative at his church and offered to partner in starting Solidarity’s first social enterprise. His company provided full capacity printing services and he wanted to support the Solidarity staff in our efforts to positively impact the community. In 2007, Solid T was created and the social enterprise has generated over $54,000 to support the various programs of Solidarity.
Today, Solidarity leads a number of different initiatives throughout the city of Fullerton, CA and Sao Paulo, Brazil. From after-school programs and Bible studies to working with street children and youth in an immigration detention center, the Solidarity staff is committed to impacting communities towards holistic transformation.
For more information on Solidarity, please click here.