About ChoiceThe Choice Program is a community-based, family-centered case management approach to delinquency prevention and youth development. Focusing on providing support in at-risk environments, The Choice Program empowers youth and engages families through a multitude of services adapted to individual needs. The program seeks to foster resiliency in young people by promoting protective factors to mitigate risk in their daily lives.
The Choice Program recruits college graduates from diverse backgrounds and fields to serve in a one-year position as a Community Service Learning Fellow. The commitment provides Choice Fellows with extensive training, professional experience, and opportunities for personal and career development. Recognized by the Corporation for National and Community Service, Choice Fellows receive an AmeriCorps Education Award upon completion of contract. AmeriCorps' core values of "getting things done” and "strengthening communities” directly align with Choice's community-based approach. While serving as advocates and mentors, enthusiastic and dedicated Choice staff develop professional, caring relationships with youth. Choice fellows provide direct service to youth and their families under the guidance of the Service Coordinators.
The Choice Program, a not-for-profit organization, is administered by The Shriver Center at The University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). The Shriver Center strives to engage the strengths and resources of higher education in finding creative solutions to some of the most urgent social challenges.
Mark Shriver, son of Sargent and Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founded the Choice program in 1987 as a part of the Children and Adolescent Health Advocacy Project (CAHAP) in Baltimore City. Two years later, Choice became a not-for-profit organization of the Shriver Center at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). In 1991, Choice received funding from the Department of Juvenile Services (formerly the Department of Juvenile Justice) and began what is now a longstanding collaborative relationship.