Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc. Appoints New Board Members, Affirming its Commitment to Providing Alternatives to Youth Incarceration/Institutional Placement and Advancing Systems Reform - Article Details

Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc. Appoints New Board Members, Affirming its Commitment to Providing Alternatives to Youth Incarceration/Institutional Placement and Advancing Systems Reform

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December 13, 2018 – Upholding its strategy to expand its proven alternative youth incarceration/institutional placement model while advancing social and justice system reform, Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc. has added five more game changers to its Board of Directors.

YAP, a 43-year-old nonprofit, serves 19,000 families in 100 communities in 22 states and the District of Columbia. YAP International operates in Guatemala, Ireland and Sierra Leone. The organization is scaling its proven, cost-effective community-based alternative out-of-home youth justice, behavioral health and child welfare model to make it available to more individuals and families. YAP believes and demonstrates that  outcomes are better when individuals – even those considered high-risk -- are Safely Home, receiving individualized mentoring, family advocacy and tools to realize, build upon and share their strengths.

“We welcome our new board members and are proud of how individually and collectively, they affirm our promise to provide innovation through visionary leadership. These appointments come at a critical juncture, as we strengthen and scale our model,” said YAP Board Chair Lynette Brown-Sow. “We’re also evolving to serve more commercially sexually exploited children, individuals needing workforce skills, youth and families struggling with substance use, LGBTQ youth and young people transitioning out of foster care,” she said.

The traditional YAP model includes hiring youth and family advocates who live in the neighborhoods of those they serve. YAP advocates provide intensive, one-to-one mentoring while working with their teammates to connect youth and families to resources that nurture their gifts, bolster their foundation and help them to give back.

The addition of new board members comes as the YAP model receives increased recognition for its effectiveness.  An evaluation of Advocate, Intervene, Mentor (AIM), a court-mandated youth justice program using the YAP prototype, found more than 90 percent of AIM participants avoided felony re-arrest within a year of enrollment, far exceeding the 60 percent target. The evaluation, conducted by the Urban Institute, was released this fall by New York City’s Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity. Chicago’s Choose to Change (C2C) crime prevention program where YAP partners with Children’s Home & Aid and the University of Chicago Crime Lab, has had similar success. The Crime Lab reported 18 months after implementing the program, arrests for violent crime among participants had been cut in half; and most participants who had previously dropped out of school were attending school again. In the first 18 months of YAP’s 24-month pay-for-success pilot in Marion County, Indiana, juvenile justice bed days were reduced by 6,893 – double the projected 3,298, representing a savings of $1.6 million, more than double projected cost savings.

YAP’s Board of Directors (all bios included here) welcomes the following new members:

Kamia Brown is a Democratic member of the Florida House of Representatives. She has served Florida’s 45th District (much of west Orange County including Pine Hills, Apopka and Ocoee) since 2016. Impacted greatly by the suicide of a high school student in her district, Brown is a proponent of community-based wraparound behavioral health services. Brown is committed to serving the public through relationship building and problem solving. Experienced in fundraising and nonprofit governance, Brown received the Children's Home Society as Legislative Champion Freshman Legislator of the Year award. The Florida Education Association recognized her as Freshman Legislator Friend of Public Education.

Donncha (Irish translation of Denis) Hughes is an independent business advisor and mentor who supports start-ups in Ireland through training and consultancy. Hughes has served as a member of the YAP Ireland Board of Directors since 2016, where he was appointed Chair in May 2018, thereby joining the Board of YAP, Inc. While smaller in scale, the issues facing YAP Ireland are very similar to those of YAP, Inc. These include: growing and resourcing the organization to meet its mission to work with even more vulnerable young people and their families; and engaging with funding organizations to change systems for the benefit of young people, families, communities and society. A priority and strength of YAP Ireland is providing a voice for young people. In this regard, Hughes was delighted to attend the recent launch of YAP Ireland’s Youth CEO Group Action Research Report, ‘What do you Think of Social Work Services?’ which was handed over by Ireland’s Ombudsman for Children to the Chief Social Care Worker of Tusla, Ireland’s National Child and Family Agency. Outside of work, Hughes is a coach and player with the local hurling and camogie club where he works with his kids under 7 boys’ and under 9 girls’ teams. Hughes has a B.Comm and MBS in Marketing from NUI Galway.

Tremaine “Teddy” Reese is managing attorney of The Reese Firm, LLC, in Columbus, Ga. His advocacy for youth involved in the justice system began when as an eighth-grader, his best friend with whom he shares a birthday was involved in an attempted robbery where another boy was shot. As a young college student, Reese wrote a letter to the parole board on his friend’s behalf and has advocated for him ever since. Over the years, Reese has watched his best friend and a cousin, who as a youth was also involved in the justice system, struggle with the challenges faced by many formerly incarcerated people. Reese is member of the American Bar Association, National Bar Association, Florida Bar, State Bar of Georgia, Fountain City Bar Association and the Columbus Bar Association. He is an active member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and serves on the Planning Advisory Council for the City of Columbus. He graduated with the 2014 Class of Young Game Changers through Georgia Forward and Leadership Georgia Class of 2015. Reese has a bachelor’s in computer science from Albany State University, a master’s in Public Administration from Georgia College & State University and graduated Cum Laude from Florida A&M University College of Law.

Ricardo Villalobos serves as Executive Director for the College of Southern Nevada’s Division of Workforce & Economic Development. He has also served as Director of Workforce Development Programs at Workforce Connections (local Workforce Development Board) and Director of YouthBuild Las Vegas. Each of these endeavors has been an expression of his passion to serve and empower underrepresented populations. Villalobos completed his undergraduate studies at BIOLA University and received a master’s degree from the University of San Diego, with an emphasis on Student Development. He has a Ph.D. in Workforce Development & Organizational Leadership from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, with a dissertation focus on how out-of-school youth successfully navigate workforce development programs. Villalobos is a member of the Clark County Juvenile Justice Services Citizen’s Advisory Council, Governor’s Oversight Juvenile Justice Commission, Latin Chamber of Commerce Business Council, Urban Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and Workforce Connections Program Committee.

Mamie Jackson Williams is Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington (PPMW)’s Vice President of Development, where philanthropy has more than doubled during her tenure. Previously, she served in senior development roles for George Washington University School of Business, the Smithsonian Institution, Spelman College, the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland-College Park, Rutgers University Division of Life Sciences and Purdue University. Williams has also served as a member of the faculty for CASE’s Conference on Diverse Philanthropy and Leadership. She has a Master of Arts degree in philanthropic studies from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University and an undergraduate degree from Sweet Briar College.

The new members join a diverse, committed YAP Board of Directors., which includes:

  • Lynette M. Brown-Sow, Chair (Pa.)
  • Joseph A. Snyder, Secretary (Pa.)
  • Frances V. Lanigan, Treasurer (NY)
  • Emily Ferguson, Parent Advocate (Pa.)
  • M. Alexis Kennedy, Ph.D., J.D. (Nev.)
  • Miriam Peña, MBA (Col.)
  • Hon. Vivian Sanks-King (NJ)
  • Randolph N. Stone, Esq. (IL)
  • Bill Wachob (Pa. and Calif)
  • John McKnight, Board Member Emeritus (IL)

For more information on YAP’s programs, please visit


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