Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc., a national nonprofit providing community-based alternatives to locking up or placing young people in congregate care, has launched YAP CHAMPS, volunteer role models who will inspire, motivate, and champion the progress of program participants.
YAP partners with youth justice, child welfare and other social services systems in 31 states and Washington D.C. to provide community-based wraparound rehabilitative, behavioral health and other services as an alternative to out-of-home placement.
Inaugural YAP CHAMPS include two people already associated with the national nonprofit, Harlem Globetrotter Chris “Handles” Franklin, and Derrick Battie, a former professional basketball player and highly regarded community activist in Dallas. Franklin spends his offseason working with youth in YAP’s Dauphin County Behavioral Health program and Battie serves as a consultant with the YAP Dallas Cred violence interruption program. Franklin and Battie are working with the YAP CHAMPS committee to invite other national and local role models to join the new volunteer group.
“There are a lot of role models who are looking for volunteer opportunities to encourage, support and motivate young people like those in YAP’s programs whose struggles are complex,” said YAP President Gary Ivory. “YAP CHAMPS is a unique invitation-only volunteer group of community activists and high-profile social change leaders to use their voices and influence to help our program participants succeed.”
YAP CHAMPS will encourage, inspire, and celebrate program participants at in-person and virtual events and via social media motivational videos and other story sharing. Some YAP CHAMPS will also serve as hosts or speakers for YAP events and fundraisers.
“Many people -- community leaders, activists, athletes, entertainers, journalists and others whom our program participants look up to have overcome their own struggles,” Ivory said. “YAP CHAMPS will be a unique group of influencers and role models who will serve as living examples to young people in our programs that they can use their strengths to make positive change for themselves, their families and their communities.”
The nonprofit's national YAP CHAMPS committee will meet monthly to select new members of the special volunteer group. The group is headed by YAP Senior Communications Manager Ryanne Persinger and includes Chief Communications Officer Kelly D. Williams, Social Media Associate Tamika Quillard, Chief of Philanthropic Engagement Jessica Stadt, Kentucky Program Director Ashley Randall, Southwest Vice President Talvin Paul, Maryland and Washington, D.C. Regional Program Director Craig Jernigan, and Los Angeles Program Director Brandon Lamar.
For more information about YAP CHAMPS or to express interest in becoming a YAP CHAMP, please reach out to Persinger at firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about YAP’s programs at www.YAPInc.org and follow the nonprofit on Twitter @yapinc.