The story of On Track begins in 1995 with two Orange County women, Terry Thompson and Claire Braeburn. Terry and Claire shared a vision of making a difference in the lives of at-risk children and their families. Together they created and developed what has now become a well-respected nonprofit organization that has reached thousands of children and families throughout Orange County. Their education and strong backgrounds in business, youth leadership training, public speaking, editing and creative writing, in addition to years of volunteerism, have provided them with the skills and experience to respond to critical problems facing Orange County communities.
With a strong sense of conviction and determination, Terry and Claire made the decision to invest their own personal funds and long hours into the On Track vision, objectives and goals. They began by soliciting the advice and help of key people in law enforcement, the judicial system, government, nonprofit organizations, schools, parents, and most importantly, the youth themselves.
Using solid research on the benefits of mentoring as well as statistics on the devastating impact of drug use, gang involvement, crime, and juvenile delinquency in Orange County and nationally, Claire and Terry designed a unique program that has evolved into the award-winning Kids On Track...Through Mentoring program. Simultaneously, they built a Board of Directors and Advisors that supported their mission and believed in their motto "Teaming Communities and Youth for a Safer Society."
Over the years, On Track has successfully launched numerous other programs, such as the On Track Youth Leadership Training program, Tobacco-Free Communities project, mural projects, Drug-Free Communities, Mentoring Children of Prisoners program, and parent education seminars. On Track has a proven track record of developing and implementing successful mentoring, youth leadership, and drug-use prevention programs and effective community collaborations. Since 1998, On Track has been retaining the services of a nationally acclaimed evaluation firm, EMT Associates, to evaluate all of its programs applying a science-based approach. EMT evaluations of our data confirm that On Track is achieving impressive outcomes for the youth we serve.
America On Track has been the recipient of over 20 local, state and national awards since 1995.
With 20 years of experience in leadership training and business experience, and over eleven years of working directly with disadvantaged families in high-risk neighborhoods, Terry Thompson (President), has experienced every aspect of creating, designing, and implementing, as well as re-designing and fine tuning successful programs for the specific needs of targeted communities. In addition, Terry can easily empathize with the diverse families On Track serves since English is her second language and because she also experienced a very challenging childhood.
Claire Braeburn (Executive Director), a UCLA graduate, marathon runner, youth leadership trainer, and former business owner has hands-on experience working in high-risk areas, building collaborations, and inspiring volunteers and employees. Claire has become a master juggler in terms of handling all aspects of building and expanding On Track. Her passion and dedication have touched the hearts of thousands of youth and families in Orange County. (See Board of Directors for more information.)
Terry and Claire are both trained in Conflict Resolution (Mediation in the Schools Program), and have developed a 26-module training workbook as well as a leadership training manual. They also published the On Track magazine from 1995 to 2003, which was distributed throughout Orange County (at all public libraries, schools, police departments, and 200 other locations) and was a resource for the community, teachers and community-based organizations. Additionally, On Track also participates in numerous community service projects on a regular basis in partnership with other nonprofits.
The America On Track story is still evolving. With the team effort, passion, motivation and dedication of their outstanding staff and Board members and hundreds of volunteers, On Track is committed to further achieving the goals set forth in its mission statement.