Canton, NY -- Thursday, June 27, marked a major milestone for St. Lawrence County Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc. Area young people and families gathered with YAP staff, partner agencies, local employers and friends to celebrate the program’s 20th anniversary at an open house of its new office. Families and staff told powerful stories, shared in this Watertown Daily Times story, that brought the audience to tears.
Since 1999, YAP has partnered with juvenile justice, child welfare, behavioral health, education, re-entry, courts, substance-abuse treatment programs and other St. Lawrence County systems to give individuals and families a safe community-based alternative to youth detention, institutional placement and other away-from-home care. YAP delivers services by hiring neighborhood-based Advocates who are trained to empower young people to identify their strengths and design individualized blueprints for their lives while connecting them their families to resources and tools that reinforce their foundation.
In addition to giving those served an opportunity to share their YAP experiences, the informal reception included presentations and stories from representatives from agencies and community organizations and area businesses. They are YAP’s partners and friends who have worked with the nonprofit over the years to provide tools to keep families together and young people out of detention facilities, institutions and other away-from home care.
The stories illustrated what makes the YAP model unique – how each service plan is individualized. YAP’s neighborhood-based Advocates deliver individualized, family-focused, strength-based services while adhering to a “no reject, no eject” policy. The organization does whatever it takes and meets with individuals and families where they are -- and at times and locations that work best to help them meet their goals.
YAP believes even the most challenging needs of individuals and families can safely and most effectively be met within a home and community setting and that every individual possesses strengths, potential, interests and talents that make them unique and can be built upon and shared. YAP believes that everyone needs access to positive people, places and activities within their community to develop their natural potential and live full, productive lives; that partnering with families to identify their needs and preferences preserves dignity and improves outcomes; and that investing in community-based programming is a cost-effective, responsible alternative to out of home placements.
To learn more about YAP, please visit www.yapinc.org.