About Higher Ground
Where it all Began
Higher Ground Youth & Family Services is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded by Joe Baldo in 2012, although the inspiration for the organization came much earlier through the grassroots efforts of Joe and friends.
After a successful career in the video/film production and corporate communications industry, Joe believed it was time to give back to the community. After searching for the type of work he felt needed to be done, he began volunteering at Juvenile Hall in Orange, CA. His role was to visit with teenage detainees, offering a listening ear and a caring heart to their life stories. The impact these youth had on Joe was life-changing. The teens there opened the door for Joe to realize the harsh realities they faced, and unfortunately, the sad consequences they'd have to live with the rest of their lives.
After three years of listening, learning, praying and ministering to this population, Joe knew he was being called to work with the youth where they needed help the most - back in their neighborhoods after they were released. He knew that they needed so much more help and support than what was available to them, and the earlier the better.
Once he saw that many of the young men and women were destined to remain in the system without effective local programs in place, Joe was determined to engage with local youth in Anaheim and Santa Ana. He was adamant that he find a way to offer them a chance to keep them from being in these situations in the first place and to provide them with the opportunity to experience a supportive, enriching environment that aimed to see them succeed now and well into the future. Joe knew these kids needed a community safety net and he was fiercely determined to create one.
Today, Higher Ground has a dedicated group of board members and a growing volunteer and intern base. By partnering with a wide range of organizations, Higher Ground is able to identify youth at the elementary, middle, and high school level who are "at-risk", and offer them a positive support system, in a friendly, safe environment.