In 2009, the founder of Off The Front, Mike Slayden, recognized three issues that had a stranglehold on the city he called home. Fresno had the highest rate of concentrated poverty in the nation, standardized test scores were far below the state average, and childhood obesity rates were skyrocketing.
Unable to shake this reality, Mike felt compelled to do what he could to help slow these trends. After listening and learning from city leaders, principals, and mentors, Off The Front officially launched in 2009 as a non-profit organization (ID 27-2022802).
Mike, an avid cyclist, decided on the name ‘Off The Front’, which is a cycling term for a rider who is out ahead of the pack. This became a visual for the goal of the organization, changing the lives of kids so that they have some of the tools to live a more healthy and successful life.
From there, three programs were developed, each with the intention to come alongside students in under-resourced communities and focus on goal setting and providing accessible resources that build skills and opportunities to break away from some of the hindrances faced in the areas of education and wellness in order to succeed in the race of life.
Off the Front partnered with their first school, Susan B. Anthony in 2009 and has expanded and worked with over 16 other schools in Fresno and surrounding communities since.