The Shaka Franklin Foundation for Youth

Shaka Franklin was 16 when he took his life. He was a student at Thomas Jefferson High School. This tragedy spurred the formation of The Shaka Franklin Foundation for Youth by his father, Les Franklin. The Shaka Franklin Foundation for Youth is a nonprofit 501 (C)(3) organization founded in 1990 to address the serious problem of youth suicide in Colorado and the nation. Since 1990, hundreds of presentations have been made on suicide, depression and self-destructive behavior to schools, youth groups, parents, teachers and professionals. This nonprofit organization works to address the serious issue of youth suicide through education, awareness, and support. The Shaka Franklin Foundation has positively touched the lives of thousands of young people across the United States and many other Countries.

The organization has helped young people work through problems and issues and get clinical help and treatment when it is needed. We have provided informal counseling to families with the hope that they will not have to experience the heartbreak of losing a child.

The Shaka Franklin Foundation is not only committed to helping youth in the United States, but also across the globe. In 2007, the Shaka Franklin Foundation created an international branch in order to educate and support youth in South Africa. This new international branch allowed the Shaka Franklin Foundation to ‘adopt’ the Tarlton Intermediate School, making it possible for the 500 children to receive a healthy mail each day. As the branch grows, the Shaka Franklin Foundation plans to move the overcrowded, dilapidated school into a new family oriented and green community through a partnership with InsituDesign Architecture and the University of Colorado Graduate School of Architecture.

Throughout the years, the Foundation has been committed to putting an end to youth suicide through a variety of outlets. However, the Foundation is in constant need of donations from the community to continue to make a positive impact on young people throughout the world.

Our Mission

- To Educate on mental health issues with a strong focus on youth suicide prevention and intervention.
- Publicize the warning signs of suicide and depression.
- Provide informal counseling and family mediation.
- Provide educational scholarships for youth.
- Provide a speaker’s bureau for schools, civic groups, churches, parent organizations, businesses and other non-profit organizations.
- Provide a referral service for mental health treatment.
- Advocate for mental health and the well-being of children and youth.

Our Values

The Shaka Franklin Foundation for Youth is dedicated to the health, well-being and success of children and young people.

 We listen carefully and respond to the needs and concerns of those referred to us for help.

All young people are our passion regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, gender or sexual preference.  We embrace diversity, celebrate each person’s dreams, goals and accomplishments, and emphasize self- worth.

We honor our commitments to the communities we serve and treat all individuals with respect and dignity, always keeping in mind each person’s right to privacy, discretion and individuality.

As an organization we feel responsible to encourage and seek out those who are creative and innovative who can help us improve our services.  We are professional in our relationships with donors/funders and clients.

 We hold ourselves accountable to our community and demonstrate the highest integrity in all situations.

History of Accomplishments

Established in 1990 to address youth suicide, depression and mental health issues.

Distribution of brochures to schools, churches, youth groups and parents about depression, grief, suicide and mental health.

Over 3,000 presentations have been given on suicide, depression, self destructive behavior and positive alternatives.

Numerous young people have received counseling to encourage them to survive, understand their purpose in life and pursue their dreams.

A sponsor of Colorado Rampage Youth Hockey in Monument, CO. Two vans and a trailer are provided for their use. Players in need of financial support can request a scholarship.

Sponsor of the Western Regional Elite Youth Hockey Camp for three years – 2014, 2015, 2016. Supported a student at the University of San Diego with a four-year scholarship. This student graduated in 2016.

SHAKA On The MOVE program was launched in 2015 which is a mobile unit that will travel to school campuses with information on suicide, depression and mental health.

The DyLussi-Austin Scholarship for Figure Skaters was established in 2011 in memory of DyLussi-Austin who started the SHAKAI.C.E. learn-to- skate and figure skating program. First recipient was awarded in 2014.

In 2010 entered into a partnership with the University of Colorado Denver and created a scholarship fund to encourage nontraditional Students to attend UC Denver.

A scholarship fund was started at Denver University.

Founding board member of the Colorado Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Established a branch in Johannesburg, South Africa by feeding 540 students in a rural school.

Through partnerships with Insitu-Design Architecture and the University of Colorado Graduate School of Architecture created a concept to rebuild a rural School in South Africa.

Shaka’s Place Youth Technology Center opened in 1999 as an educational and creative place for children and young people. A second building was renovated as an extension of youth programs and focusing on physical fitness, exercise and proper nutrition. Programs at Shaka’s Place: All About Choices – prevention and intervention for young people. (2) introduction to audio/visual technology, music production, lyricWriting, film production.

SHAKA I.C.E.(Inner City Edge) was started in 1997 as a development program for ice hockey and figure skating.

Acquired 320 acres in Westcliffe, CO. This was done with the idea of creating a youth retreat. Organized the Willie O’Ree All-Star Weekend in Denver which recognizes outstanding minority youth hockey players – 1998.

Co-Founder of the National Organization of People of Color Against Suicide (NOPCAS).

Appearances on 12 television shows to discuss suicide: Montel William(4), Bryant Gumble (Today Show), 400 Club, Rolanda Show, Phil Donahue Show, Colorado and Company, Lou Gossett, Jr. television special – Images and Realities, NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, Gordon Elliott Show.

Featured in the following: Time Magazine, Essence Magazine, Boston Globe, The Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News, Inter-Mountain Jewish News, Emerging Markets, People Magazine.

Recipient of the El Pomar Foundation Outstanding Youth Organization Award in 1998.

Recipient of The El Pomar Foundation Shrine of the Sun Award of Excellence in 2001.

In 2007 Established an international branch in Johannesburg, South Africa, feeding 540 students daily Established a partnership in 2007 with Streets On Fire School of Fine Arts & Technology to expand their vision and training at Shaka’s Place.

In 2007 Established partnership with InsituDesign Architecture & University of Colorado Graduate School of Architecture to re-build Tarlton Intermediate School in South Africa.