Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Bay Area Afterschool Pioneer to Retire

Martin Weinstein

By Sam Piha

Forty years ago, Martin Weinstein founded New Perspectives, a Marin-based youth drug & alcohol abuse prevention program. New Perspectives expanded to serve youth across the San Francisco Bay area and changed its name to Bay Area Community Resources (BACR)

Marty pioneered school-based afterschool programs. He saw the importance of integrating mental health services by hiring staff with a counseling and social work background. He was also known for collaborating with other organizations in service delivery. (Note: Martin Weinstein helped launched my career in afterschool when he hired me in 1987. I worked for Marty for 8 years, managing BACR programs in the East Bay.)

Upon learning of his plans to retire, we interviewed Marty about his career and accomplishments, as well as other afterschool leaders, on his impact on the afterschool field. 

Q: Marty, what drew you to the field of youth prevention and positive development? 
A: In the early 1970s I decided I wanted to do something in my life that would benefit others, and I fortunately was given the opportunity to become the executive director of New Perspectives, which is now BACR. 

Q: Can you name one thing during your career that you were surprised by? 
A: I am surprised by the great careers built at BACR. Many of our staff make BACR their lifelong professional home.

Q: Was there an innovation you engineered that stands out to you? 
A: We created what is now known as an intermediary when AmeriCorps first started, and we are the longest running AmeriCorps program in California. Initially, the AmeriCorps agency didn't understand the value of this model.

Q: What is one of your fondest memories? 
A: I was visiting an afterschool program at an elementary school. The instructor was working with students on the concept of community. He asked the question, "how can we build a strong community?" A third-grade boy jumped up and said, "we gotta start doing push ups!" That is what I call a literal response.

Q: What are you most proud of? 
A: I am most proud of having had the opportunity to work with so many wonderful people who have become both leaders in the field and dear friends of mine. 

Q: Looking ahead to the future of afterschool, what do you believe will be the challenges and opportunities? 
A: Recruiting and retaining high quality staff has become a significant challenge as a result of the cost structure of expanded learning programs. The opportunities in after school are great. We have the potential to totally and positively impact the lives of countless youth through the work of committed and passionate people working in our most vulnerable schools. 

"Over 25 years ago in the Bay Area, Marty became a mentor, then a collaborator, and most importantly, my friend. Marty is leaving an impressive legacy in California that has touched and changed thousands of lives. Mine included. I love and appreciate you, Marty!"
- Michael Funk, Director, Afterschool Division, California Department of Education

Jennifer Peck
It's hard to imagine BACR without Marty. He's been the steady, strategic, patient, driving force behind this organization for longer than most of us can remember. Marty has never veered from his mission, but always found ways to adjust and adapt based on community needs and remains a reliable, impactful force in so many communities. I am especially grateful for Marty's understanding of the importance of nonprofits serving kids and being active and engaged advocates at the local, state and federal level. Marty invested time and resources in advocacy coalitions that leveraged the strength of many other organizations, which made a real difference with AmeriCorps funding at the national level and ASES funding in California. Marty will certainly be missed, and he's leaving a solid organization with a great reputation. BACR will undoubtedly continue to be a huge asset in Bay Area communities.” – Jennifer Peck, Founder of Partnership for Children & Youth 

Don Lau
I was introduced to Marty around 1986 by my YMCA's Y- Team Director, Alf Johnson. Marty and Alf had an idea to have the YMCA and New Perspectives (now BACR) partner on a prevention program targeting middle school students at risk of getting involved with "gateway" drugs. That was how the innovative Gateway Program was started by our two agencies. Gateway provided individual and group counseling, social services and recreation therapy. Each agency would provide services that were a part of their expertise. The Gateway Project was very successful in helping adolescents turn away from the drug and gang infested neighborhoods they lived in by exposing them to positive alternatives and giving them the tools needed to make good decisions. Gateway was an effective collaborative program model that was ahead of its time and I want to thank Marty for taking the risk with Alf and me to make it happen. All the best to you in your retirement Marty and hope you enjoy it as much as I do.” - Don Lau, former West Contra Costa YMCA, Executive Director & President/CEO YMCA of the East Bay



Martin Weinstein is the Chief Executive Officer of Bay Area Community Resources and has been a leader within the organization and the community for over 40 years. With his guidance, BACR has developed into a dynamic and highly diversified nonprofit agency. Martin's professional history combines a solid theoretical background in business and a successful application in the social service arena. He holds an undergraduate degree from the Wharton School of Finance, University of Pennsylvania, and an MBA from New York University.

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