GROWTH Foundation, Inc. was formed in January 2006 as a 501 (c)(3) non-profit California Corporation to provide an after school program for at-risk youth. The vision of GROWTH is to assist youth in developing the confidence necessary for academic achievement, self-sufficiency and overall well-being. A guiding principle of the organization is that belief in oneself becomes possible when one is believed in.
To create this vision, our mission was to provide tutoring, mentoring, test preparation, cooking class, music, drama and art activities, volunteer work, and internship and job opportunities. GROWTH volunteers created a multi-faceted after school program where teenagers could go for safety, friendship, and overall support. Youth were engaged in enriching activities and service to their community, which promoted a sense of self-worth and belonging. The after school program continued until summer 2008. From then until now, thanks to a small number of donors, GROWTH Foundation continues to fulfill its charitable mission by helping youth one-on-one and in a small group setting.
GROWTH Foundation also provides youth with the tools to stop self-destructive behavior. Founder Deana Ruggieri and Board Vice-President Tom Nelson authored a book titled Children of War: The Mike Rodriguez Story, published by Black Rose Writing in December 2013. Children of War is envisioned as a platform for youth to share their stories and seek professional help. It is designed to inspire victims of abuse and addiction to start writing in an effort to heal. GROWTH Foundation is focusing on further developing the Children of War platform and making it accessible to as many youth as possible.