We are a collaborative community-based 501c3 non-profit organization specializing in pre-teen & teen behavior health, youth development and family strengthening programming. Created as an alternative to youth detention and student expulsion, we have compiled an exemplary record of providing services to challenged youth through a variety of programs and supportive services. We are funded through private donations and both government and corporate grant funding.
All applicants are required to meet the following criteria before applying for the Shaar R. Mustaf Memorial Scholarship:
1. Be a graduating high school Senior in the class of 2022.
2. Provide Proof of Acceptance or Letter of Intent to a post-secondary program or institution (university, college, trade school, entrepreneurship/employment).
3. Submit via email a 3-5 minute video presentation on a historical black figure or present how they will impact their community positively through their works.
5. Have fulfilled a commitment of 5 hours of community service (this must be completed before the award is made).
Deadline for all applications is May 30th, 2022
Our original program serves certain youth first-time offenders as an alternative to detention. This highly acclaimed 16-week group rehabilitative program has reduced subsequent offending amongst participating youth by a convincing 90% non-recidivism rate.MORE INFORMATION
Leadership Development is a school-based program designed to cultivate self-awareness, self-control, and leadership qualities while eliminating negative behaviors of participants. This program is aimed specifically for students during their critical transition years/ages in middle and high school respectively.MORE INFORMATION
This program includes curriculum and activities that integrate leadership development tools with Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics. The focus is to improve critical thinking skills, problem solving and to learn the fundamentals of technology and engineering.MORE INFORMATION
Just For Her is a gender specific initiative developed to address the growing crisis facing adolescent girls and young women in their formative years. This program delivers a broad array of provisions that focuses on positive growth , social, emotional and behavioral wellness.MORE INFORMATION
The GCF is an after-school youth program designed to foster youth leadership and develop skills to overcome various challenges youth may experience in their lives. This program will improve youth’s help seeking behaviors that may include cyber bullying, cyber safety, teen dating violence and ideologically motivated violence. These challenges are addressed through a skills-based curriculum that provides youth training to cultivate empathy, manage stress, become an upstander/peer helper, mitigate or resolve conflict and more.MORE INFORMATION
Take Charge Behavior Health Services provides a full complement of assessment and counseling services for youth, teens, young adults, and families. Specializing in behavior modification; ADHD/ADD/bi-polar support; grief, trauma, and loss issues; and youth with truancy, multi-suspensions, as well as their school-related behaviors, Take Charge licensed and experienced professionals are ready to serve you. Support for LBGTQ and substance abuse issues is also available.MORE INFORMATION
Take Charge has been recognized as a leading service provider in Prince George’s County in the reduction of tobacco use among teens for the last ten years. The organization offers outpatient counseling and treatment programs and services to youth who are struggling with addiction and drug/alcohol/tobacco usage.MORE INFORMATION
The overreaching goal of the Take Charge Re-Entry Transition & Life Skills Services Program is to reduce recidivism, provide leadership, life coaching/mentoring and oversight to returning citizens.
Our comprehensive re-entry initiative will provide individual support and service by coordinating efforts with the following goals and strategies: reduction recidivism, elimination of violence, elimination of substances/ alcohol abuses and treatment, job training/ preparation, legal resources and expungement, home acquisition, healthy domestic relationship and family strengthening, parenting development services, improved mental/ emotional/ physical health services, job placement and retention, life coaching and mentoring.
Strengthening young fathers has been designed to provide young dads with the skills and resources many young men lack. In addition to positive role models and “go to” resources, young male parents will have an opportunity to receive evidence-based workshop training that will result in improved communication with peers as well as their children, and interact with their child(ren) in planned play activities – bringing them together and providing positive experiences to build stronger bonds.
Basketball And Life Skills
Each summer, five-day Basketball and Life Skills Camps are conducted in the Washington DC Metropolitan Area. The camp offers comprehensive values-centered programs that use basketball as a linchpin to address issues challenging today’s youth.
Camps promote anger management, conflict resolution, teamwork, and good sportsmanship and habits while helping youth stay occupied in productive activities. Life skills are taught to increase youths’ abilities to resist negative peer pressure and help improve academic performance. Educators and sports personalities serve as instructors for daily sessions that take place at selected local school gyms.
For more information about this program, call the office at (301) 420-7395.
Jerrod Mustaf is widely recognized as one of the rising stars in the field of social work in the Washington Metropolitan Area. As a long-time advocate for juvenile justice programs and one of the first certified gang prevention counselors in state of Maryland, he manages one of the most successful Juvenile Justice Programs in the nation. As the public face and primary fundraiser for Take Charge, Mustaf oversees and directs program activities for a program that employs a staff of six with more than 8 active programs and an annual budget of $500,000. Mustaf has the organization poised to spread its special brand of juvenile service beyond Prince George’s County.
Jane Pinczuk is the Founder & CEO of The Music in Me Foundation International and Author of the “Rap” on Reading Celebrity Book Series.
She is a trained communicator, public speaker and professional writer with 30 years of experience in newspapers, magazines, books and television. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post and The New York Times, among other publications.
She wears many hats as an educator, executive producer, pantomime and dancer as well. Her performances have been seen at The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Wolf Trap Center, television and public/private schools throughout the Washington Metropolitan Area and other public venues. For many years, she performed with Bobby McFerrin doing improvisational dance.
Jane is determined to spread her special brand of hope and inspiration to youth by helping them discover their unique “superpowers” to obtain their dreams and free themselves of self limitation.
Mr. Ross is a Mental Health professional and Washingtonian with over 15 years of experiences of working with young people in the DMV. Upon graduating from Wagner College (Staten Island, NY) where he majored in Biopsychology, Mr. Ross would begin working as a Site Coordinator within the DC Recreation Summer Youth Program. This would mark the beginning of an extensive career, devoted to providing services and teaching skills to help individualizes achieve their goals. Since recently finishing his Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Mr. Ross is poised to make a strong impact within the community.
"If I should die, who will save the Babies?”
(Clarence 13x Smith)Brother El Ta'Shk Faruq's post-academic journey began at the State University of New York at Albany, where he earned a bachelor's of art degree in Africana Studies and Business. As a father, he understood the value of modeling for his seven children the benefits of being an educated African-American. After being called to ministry, he earned his Master’s degree in Theology with a concentration in Pastoral Ministry and Counseling at Grand Canyon University located in Phoenix, Arizona. Grand Canyon University is also where Bro. Faruq completed his Doctoral studies in Organizational Leadership with Higher Education as a focus.
Brother Faruq currently teaches Finance, Marketing, and Entrepreneurship at Friendship Collegiate Academy in NE Washington DC. He is the State Director for DC's Future Business Leaders of America Chapters.
"After graduating with BAS Architectural Engineering from Drexel University in 2012, Lemond Brown returned to Washington, D.C. and founded the Swaliga Foundation. Swaliga was founded with the mission of cultivating education globally and inspiring young people to connect their passion to successful careers. Recently featured on TEDxMidatlantic, Lemond has become a pioneer in the ?eld of STEAM (Science, Tech, Engineering, Art & Math) Education. As a Music Artist, Educator, and philanthropist born in Washington, D.C., Lemond aka IMAG continues to give consistently to those in need."
I started the Take Charge Program last school year. At the time, it wasn't a requirement. I was enrolled because of the mistake I made a few weeks prior. I was open to joining the program because I enjoy new learning experiences and meeting new people. On the day of my Intake, I remember waiting in the lobby while my mother enrolled me in the office, there were other families in the lobby as well, waiting for registration. I immediately observed the others and noticed they had behavioral issues. I felt discouraged. Students would tell their parents to leave them alone and disobey their parents requests. I wondered "What am I doing here?" "I have nothing in common with these kids". I thought that I didn't do anything wrong. I didn't want to be a part of this because it will not benefit me. Upon enrollment, Students had to be present every Monday, dressed in appropriate attire and ready to be transformed into a better person. I already felt I was the best I could be, how much better could I get?
"What a waste of Monday's".
I did not expect that the program would be beneficial for me because I believed that I was well behaved. I did not give my parents trouble, I did not give teachers trouble and I was a role model in my community.
On the first meeting, I was introduced to Mr. Curtis and Mr. Mike, our life coaches and facilitators. They were kind, honest, intelligent and genuine. They shared their experiences with us students and allowed us to share our own experiences. We completed activities together, that stimulated our minds. We learned the importance of teamwork and communication. We also learned to appreciate our parents because they go above and beyond. We would not be a part of Take Charge, which encourages personal growth as well as growing with a community, if they did not care for us. Spending that one evening with the group, I learned so much, I was captivated. I couldn't wait for our next meeting! We developed connections expeditiously. I learned that although we may be in different chapters in our lives, we are not different at all. We are all one decision away from a mistake. I continued with the program for a month, learning new things about myself as well as the world around me. (We were required to complete current event articles each week and speak to the class about our high and low points of the week).
After meeting with an intake officer at the Juvenile Court System, He suggested that I continue my mandatory correctional programming with the Take Charge program as a part of my 90 days of probation.
Participants are usually expected to complete the program for a couple weeks. Upon request of the Intake Officer, I stayed for months. I met new sets of students and explained what the program was about. I explained how much of a positive impact it has had on me and why they should continue to take part.
During the course of the program, I learned to have positive thoughts and encourage others as well. I learned that little things I could do differently, will change the outcome of a situation. I learned to control anger, as well as fear. I learned to think through situations before acting.
Currently, the Take Charge family is learning about budgeting. Not only do we learn how to be better people and make better decisions, we are learning how to be more responsible. We are learning how to plan ahead for our future and map out what we need to accomplish and at what time we need to accomplish it.
Even though my time is nearly over, I will continue to participate until I obtain all of the knowledge I seek from the program. When my duration of the program is complete, I will definitely give back to Take Charge and also to the young people who are not quite on the right path or stuck at a point in their life and need help.
I thank Take Charge for changing my life.
Dear Mr. Mustaf,
My experience in the Take Charge Program has strengthened me as an individual. I now have a more positive outlook on my future because the staff at Take Charge have instilled in me the importance of myself, my family, and my culture. They have also encouraged me to become a leader and strive to do my best in school. I will always keep their inspiring words with me.
I recommend The Take Charge Program to other families who – like me – find themselves facing a confusing array of options for their struggling son or daughter. I am so grateful for the change in my child.
The Take Charge Program is a community of people who genuinely care about struggling teens and their families, and it makes a huge difference. The program itself goes very deep and gets to the heart, soul, using the “It takes a village to raise a child” concept to create real change in the lives of teens. It’s not easy and it takes commitment on everyone’s part.
For my daughter at age 15 it was the chance of a lifetime to turn things around just as it was a chance for me in the parent program to change and grow myself. Over two years ago my daughter was angry, depressed, defiant, disrespectful, disobedient and going nowhere.
Now she is in high school with very good grades, and has a part-time job with The Take Charge Program. She has become self-directed and confident, and she lives by good values. She cares about herself and others and life itself. It all started at The Take Charge Program.
I recommend it with all my heart.
Dear Take Charge Staff,
The Take Charge Program is a blessing! My name is Mrs. Margie Martin. Ever since my daughter, Shadora, entered the program there has been peace in my home, homework being completed, and most importantly, we’re talking about college. Shadora has been offered wonder job opportunities and she has been introduced to many great things with the help of the program. Take Charge has also helped my family understand one another. Take Charge has given my family a brand new daughter and a brand new outlook on life. I love Take Charge.
I would like to commend Mr. Mustaf, his staff and volunteers for the outstanding impact that the Take Charge Program has had in our family.
Two of my grandsons have successfully completed the program which is administered by Mr. Mustaf. They were exposed to; academic enrichment, cultural awareness, job readiness, discipline, structure and the character building modules that are offered.
As a background, my grandsons are in a single parent home and although they have strong family values, they were in need of the positive influence that Take Charge offers to prevent juvenile delinquency and and serious criminal offenses.
The Take Charge Program has, strengthened our family, given my grandsons a positive future and an appreciation for their history and life skills to live by.
At the same time, I as a parent, learned new parenting skills and more of my culture and history.
The service that Take Charge provides is so vital to the citizens of Prince Georges County in helping to deter crime and at the same time shaping responsible citizens of our youth.
Each year, Take Charge directly serves between 300-500 youth and families in the Washington DC Region. Our talented staff of professionals pour their heart and souls into our youth to proudly make a positive impact in their lives and in our communities. To continue this ministry of service, we humbly ask for your tax deductible financial donation. Complete the form below to make your contribution.
Our calculations examine the impact of the Take Charge Programs work and effectiveness, and compare the scope of work to our costs. This yields several estimates of our average impact per dollar spent in the following areas.
When students improve their attendance rates, they improve their academic prospects and chances for graduating
Less than 10% of our program graduates re-offend
We set standards to ensure students are successfully completing coursework
Teaching skills to avoid compromising events entirely
We focus our programs to bring constructive changes into the students lives
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