MENTOR | IWF Northern California
Christa Gannon is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Fresh Lifelines for Youth, Inc. (“FLY”). Eighteen years ago, FLY was only an idea held in the mind of incarcerated boys, boys who were spending most of their teenage years, and for some their lives, behind bars for choices they had made. After being asked by Christa (a Stanford Law student at the time) what would prevent other youth from ending up like them, they helped design FLY. FLY believes that all our children deserve a chance to become more than their past mistakes. FLY’s mission is to prevent juvenile crime and incarceration through legal education, leadership training, and one-on-one mentoring.
Today, FLY’s 60 staff and 150 volunteers each year serve 1,000 youth on probation and 1,000 at-risk middle school students in three counties in California, Santa Clara, San Mateo, and Alameda. Providing services at less than one-tenth the cost of incarceration, FLY helps at-risk and justice involved youth transform their lives, builds a community of people willing to support them in the process, and helps local juvenile justice systems become more effective.
Christa has received numerous awards for her work at FLY, including the James Irvine Leadership Award, Human Rights Award for the City of San Jose, Stanford Law School’s Inaugural Alumni Public Service Award, the Law Foundation’s, Youth Advocate of the Year Award, a Bay Area Women of Influence Award, and an induction as an Ashoka Fellow (one of the first in the field of Juvenile Justice in the United States).
Christa has B.S. in sociology and law and society, graduated with honors from Stanford Law School, and is a member of the California Bar. After law school and before founding FLY she clerked for Napoleon A. Jones Jr., of the US District Court, Southern District in California. In addition to her work at FLY, she sits on the leadership team of the Silicon Valley Council of Nonprofits (an alliance of nonprofits in Santa Clara County), serves as a strategic advisor to Thrive (an alliance of nonprofits in San Mateo County) and was formerly a member of Stanford’s National Haas Advisory Board.
Christa is also a wife, mother of two children and a volunteer basketball coach.