YAP staff are passionate and deeply committed to making a positive difference in the world. They do this not only through their work with youth and families, but also through giving back. Staff give back in a myriad of ways, often driven by what they identify locally as an unmet need and an area of interest. For example, in communities where violence often casts a tragic shadow such as Harrisburg, PA, YAP employees host events like the recent Peace Street that bring neighborhood residents and businesses together in a peaceful setting; during the holidays, staff may donate clothing, food and gifts to families in need.
Nationally, many staff contribute to fundraisers and payroll deductions for the Tom Jeffers Endowment Fund for Continuing Education. Since 2004, staff have raised over $1 million. In 2014, 425 employees contributed $24,608 through voluntary payroll deductions. To date, 81 scholarships have been awarded and seven more YAP scholarship applicants are waiting for the fall semester. A current fundraiser is Cow Patty Bingo, an annual event held at the fair in rural Somerset County (PA).
The concept of giving back extends beyond U.S. borders. For decades, YAP staff have been supporting the work of two organizations helping vulnerable youth internationally: in Guatemala, where there is no social service system, staff help fund the work of an organization that aids street children; and in Sierra Leone, staff contributions help former child soldiers in their ongoing efforts at community reintegration and education. Last year, there were more than 260 payroll deduction contributions totaling approximately $32,000.
YAP staff give of themselves emotionally, mentally and physically in their work with youth and families; yet their generous spirits go above and beyond to give more where they see a need to help others. For this and so many reasons, we are thankful for and proud of our YAP Team.