Program Information

C.A.R.E provides individualized support services for truant youth who have not enjoyed success in a traditional public school setting. Students attending this program can re-acclimate themselves to the academic experience and develop resiliency life skills while earning credits toward eventual graduation. Through our partnership with the San Francisco Unified School District, we are able to offer eligible students the opportunity to get back on track to earn a high school diploma or GED. Additional services include student advocacy, career exploration, case management, and information and referrals for additional support.


For more information please contact us at 415.905.0182


C.A.R.E. Calendar and Hours




What is C.A.R.E.?

  • C.A.R.E is a small high school, located at the Buchanan YMCA, created in partnership with the San Francisco County Office of Education (SF Public Schools) and the Department of Children, Youth, and their Families. We serve students who have missed significant amounts of school or who have dropped out entirely. 

What are the requirements to enroll and with whom does C.A.R.E. work?

  • C.A.R.E. can serve all high school students but focuses on 9th and 10th graders.

  • Students/families can work with their school site to request a transfer, or, for students with 504 plans or IEPs, a school site can complete a referral via the Tier 3 form submitted to Pupil Services.  POs and other case managers can also refer students, in collaboration with families.

  • The placement process involves an interview and assessment to ensure that the services provided are the best match for the student and family.

What classes are offered?

  • C.A.R.E. offers a one-room schoolhouse model with one General Education Teacher.  Areas of study include English Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, Health, P.E., and Advisory.  Other electives may be offered when needed.

  • C.A.R.E. also has a Special Education Teacher who supports students 1:1, in small groups, and co-teaches.

  • YMCA staff and an SFUSD School Counselor/Social Worker offer life skills classes, in partnership with other Community-Based Organizations.

How much credit can students earn?

  • Students earn up to 12 credits per hex semester every 6 weeks, or 36 credits a semester.

  • Students can earn partial credit.

  • C.A.R.E. is not credit recovery, but instead a re-entry program for students who have had interrupted schooling.  Students earn credit for all participation at C.A.R.E. 

How long do students typically stay?

  • There is no maximum stay.  However, students typically attend for one semester.  Each student's transition plan is developed individually with student and family input.



Interested in enrollment? Please fill out the Inquiry Form below!


Kiara Mendez
(415) 323-0641

Kiara started her career with the YMCA in New York as an intern in 2015. She then worked in the YMCA of Colombia for 3.5 years supporting school and university English programs and Coordinating an international volunteers program. Kiara started working with the YMCA of San Francisco in 2019 and her experience includes providing community-based mental health services, supporting mental health trainees onboarding and compliance needs, leading in the YMCA's Latinx ERG, and now overseeing the Buchanan alternative education program.

Ashley Gainer
(415) 905-0182

As an SF Native, I love to go on spontaneous adventures enjoying the city views, food, and vibrant mix of cultures. I graduated from Florida A&M University, an HBCU in Tallahassee Florida with a degree in criminal justice with a focus in Juvenile justice. I have a great passion for advocating and mentoring youth who just need someone who will care enough about them and their goals. I love to travel and make people laugh. I am convinced my purpose in this world is to share knowledge and love to all that pass me by. Be the light in someone’s life.