What We Do

People do better throughout their lives when they are empowered to access support and opportunities from within their communities to strengthen their social, emotional, financial and physical wellbeing. YAP engages in activities designed to create positive environments for program participants so that they can thrive as healthy, well-rounded and fully engaged members of their communities.

A significant step to empowering individuals and families to create the best possible environments for achieving their goals is to address barriers within communities that contribute to poor outcomes. YAP understands that there are disparities in youth prisons, congregate child welfare, behavioral health and other out-of-home placements.

Detention, youth prison, and placements in congregate care separate youth from family and community. YAP’s community-based alternatives help program participants and their families achieve life skills and other goals in safe, supportive community environments.

YAP carries out our mission not only through direct services, but also in advocacy and policy change, training and consultation, and investing in communities.

  • Direct Services
    Advocates in the Streets
  • Policy and Advocacy Change
    Changing Hearts, Minds and Systems
  • Training and Consultation
    International and Domestic
  • Invest in Futures
    Endowment Fund for Continuing Education

Direct Services

YAP’s continuum of care safely supports wellbeing and empowers individuals to see and nurture their strengths through services delivered in their homes and communities. Our individualized services include connecting youth and families with tools to help them heal from trauma, access basic needs supports and services, form healthy and stable relationships, meet their individualized educational, employment and emotional goals, build positive and lasting community connections, and develop essential life skills.

YAP specializes in supporting individuals and families involved in the youth justice and child welfare systems; youth with behavioral health needs, young people with intellectual disabilities and/or struggling with educational challenges; and adults returning from prison.


Policy and Advocacy Change

YAP works to change human service systems, advocating for public policies that support divesting in harmful and expensive institutions and investing in a robust, more effective and equitable, comprehensive, community-based continuum of care. Informed by the experiences of YAP program participants and direct service staff, we advocate for changing policies and systems that affect them and their communities, and we collaborate with like-minded organizations to maximize our collective impact.


Training and Consultation

Since 1991, YAP has helped “change the hearts and minds” of jurisdictions, schools, like-minded organizations and the broader public through providing training, consultation, technical assistance and education. This work is carried out in the United States and internationally.


Investing in Communities

One of the tools available to YAP program participants and members of their families is our Endowment Fund scholarship. In 2014, we named the fund the Tom Jeffers Endowment Fund for Continuing Education in honor of YAP's founder. Whether the goal is college, truck driving school, a technical certification or other career endeavors, the scholarship is available to support recipients’ educational and economic pursuits. In addition to tuition, awardees can use the funds to pay for books, vocational tools or a computer. Since the scholarship’s inception in 2004, YAP employees have been the primary funders, making donations through weekly payroll deductions totaling more than $2 million.