Ventana del Soul is developing new
programs to foster positive change.
Check back for updates and progress!
Ventana del Soul will not have programs available during its development stage.
History of Ventana del Soul
the aftermath of September 11, 2001 (9/11), a group of Austin students, business
owners and faith-based community representatives began to discuss the community's
reaction to the tragedy. The group noted a strong sense of togetherness, consideration,
empathy and community in people's behavior that dissipated after a few weeks.
This contrast in behavior highlighted the potential for Community, which inspired
the group to find a way of fostering Community — without tragedy being
The group found positive factors that shape community in the 40 Developmental
Assets, identified by Search Institute, which now serve as the ideological
foundation for Ventana del Soul (Window of the Soul) and its experience-based
learning. After a year of research and development, in December 2002, the group
incorporated Ventana del Soul as a 501c3 Non-Profit Organization.
Ventana del Soul received tremendous support from the community, in the form
of in-kind donations. Ventana del Soul opened Cafe Ventana with meeting rooms
in September 2003 and the Ventana del Soul Cultural Center with a large conference
space in December 2003. The cafe provides a vocational training area for at-risk
youth and the meeting space attracts hundreds of active, community minded people
involved with non-profit and community organizations -- the ideal role models
for our youth. Funds raised through the cafe help Ventana del Soul fulfill its
mission and help the center become sustainable.
In its first year, the Ventana del Soul helped 73 youth and provided space
for nearly 1,100 meetings and served more than 220 non-profit and community
organizations throughout Austin and Travis County. Today, Ventana del Soul helps
more than 300 youth a year and serves more than 300 organizations.
September- 9/11 inspires group to find a way to foster Community
December- Group incorporates Ventana del Soul as a Non-Profit Organization
September- Café and Coffee House opens; December- Cultural Center opens
January - Internal Revenue Service recognizes Ventana del Soul as 501c3 School
/ Charitable Organization. By May 2004, Ventana had hosted 900 meetings
for more than 100 non-profit and civic organizations and community groups; State
Resolution commends Ventana del Soul for "its many contributions in support
of Austin residents affecting positive and lasting change. (Ventana del Soul)
enriches the community in ways benefiting small business, neighborhood groups,
schools, and charitable organizations"
Community Service Learning Program for ages 10-17 begins and provides service
for more than 200 youth in its first year Austin Chronicle recognizes Ventana
del Soul as “Best Cultural Arts Center”; Ventana enlists 20 Advisory
Board Members to help develop programs and partnerships
Cultural Center steps up its Volunteerism, Mentorship, and Intern Programs;
ESL and Food Service Certification Classes begin; Partnerships develop with
the University of Texas at Austin, St. Edwards University, Austin Community
College, Austin Municipal Court, Austin Independent School District, Del Valle
School District, YWCA, Communities in Schools, and Texas School for the Deaf;
Letters of Recognition received by Senator John Cornyn, Representative Eddie
Rodriguez, Mayor Will Wynn and Judges from the Texas Department of Juvenile
Justice; Ventana worked with more than 250 at-risk youth to help keep them from
falling further into the justice system.
2007 and 2008
A Glimmer of Hope awards Ventana del Soul with a grant to assist youth program;
Recruitment of 50 college students as Volunteer Job Coach Mentors per semester;
Ventana works with more than 300 at-risk youth to help them from falling further
into the justice system; Ventana conducts studies to find effectiveness of Mentorship
and Community Service Learning Programs are in reducing recidivism, delinquency
and dropout rates.
Ventana del Soul develops vocational training programs for youth and adults
who have had contact with the justice system. Ventana’s training combines
best practices for reentry according to Offender Workforce Development (OWD),
an “Each One Teach One” model for supportive learning and empowerment,
and a demanding curriculum that helps students earn up to eight industry specific
certifications in six to twelve weeks. Ventana del Soul’s programs have
touched the lives of more than 1,100 youth and adults by the end of 2009.
One Star Foundation awards a grant to Ventana del Soul to help build capacity
for the reentry effort in Travis County; Ventana del Soul works closely with
Federal, State, County and City authorities, workforce agencies and organizations
throughout Texas to help facilitate successful reentry; Ventana partners with
Travis County Criminal Justice Planning, faith-based and community organizations,
the Travis County Reentry Collaborative, and the Employer Collaborative Group
to help build capacity for successful reentry; Ventana sponsors and becomes
the official home to Offender Employment Specialist (OES) Training which is
offered quarterly by Travis County Criminal Justice Planning, the Federal Bureau
of Prisons, and the National Institute of Corrections and provides information
on best practices for helping clients overcome reentry challenges and identifies
tools and strategies for improving outcomes in offender employment; 92% of adult
students graduate from Ventana del Soul’s Vocational Training Programs,
100% of Ventana’s graduates get jobs.