July 2016 - In This Issue:
New Release:  YAP Annual Report
We are very excited to announce the release of our Annual Report. The publication is a glance at highlights from 2015 and a terrific overview of our model.


Where We Work


YAP serves over 13,000 families a year in more than 100 programs across 19 states in rural, suburban and urban areas. 

Scholarship Winner Luana
Congrats to scholarship recipient Luana Neely, pictured here with her Advocate Ugonna Uba.  

Ugonna Uba and Luana Neely

YAP Board Member News
LYNETTE M. BROWN-SOW, YAP's Board Chair, was featured in an article by the Philadelphia Business Journal titled "Breaking Down Barriers for Women of Color."  

Lynette M. Brown-Sow

YAP board member RANDOLPH STONE is being honored by the Juvenile Justice Initiative as a champion for children in conflict with the law.  The Juvenile Justice Initiative is a non-profit, non-partisan, inclusive statewide advocacy organization that works to transform the juvenile justice system in Illinois by reducing reliance on confinement, enhancing fairness for all children, and developing a comprehensive continuum of community-based resources throughout the state. 

Randolph Stone

YAP Film


"Safely Home" showcases the power of the YAP model across diverse geographies and demographics by sharing the stories of youth and staff in three different YAP locations:  urban Chicago, Orange County, NY, and rural Louisiana.  
News Around YAP
YAP's program in Baltimore
 is a well-respected alternative to the infamous Baltimore Youth Detention Center.  At any given time, the program serves approximately 60 youth.  As of July 1, our contract with the State of Maryland has doubled and we are excited that this will allow us to serve twice as many youth and families in the coming year!

Fred Fogg, YAP's Regional Director of North/Metro NJ was honored recently by Fatherhood Buzz, a national initiative designed to reach out to fathers with positive information through their barbers and barber shops. Fred received their 2016 Humanitarian Award for his work supporting youth and families in the Atlantic County community.

Fred Fogg

A new Evening Reporting Center will be opening as a part of our Middlesex County, NJ program.  The program will be located at space generously provided in kind by the local housing authority in New Brunswick.  

Chicago YAP is thrilled to be one of Get IN Chicago's Summer 2016 Cohorts. Under the program, Advocates will develop a summer safety plan for each of their youth with particular attention to evening activities and weekends, the times most students are most at risk of injury. The program will offer strategies to reduce violence while working to ensure that vulnerable youth return to school in the fall. The program will serve 50 youth in Englewood, West Englewood, and Roseland.

On July 15, Dauphin County, PA YAP held its 8th annual Peace Street celebration in Harrisburg, PA.  The community block party is an effort to engage youth and families in thoughts and actions that contribute toward building strong and peaceful communities.  

Dorienne Silva, President of YAP's International Programs, presented YAP's model at an international street workers network in Senegal.  YAP is a leading member of this international organization dedicated to providing best practice to street kids at high risk.  

Dorienne Silva

Youth from our sister program in Ireland were interviewed by a local television program about the importance of young people having a voice in the services they receive.  Watch the video clip and learn about YAP's model and VOICE initiative.
The past month has been tough: in the wake of violence in Orlando, Baton Rouge, Minneapolis, Dallas, and abroad in Nice, France and others, it is hard not to feel overwhelmed, numb, outraged, aggrieved, afraid, and tired. Likely as you, we're searching for understanding, truth, and healing.
We believe that we can help advance dialogue as an organization and as members of the over 100 communities where we live and work.  YAP's families and staff reflect ethnic, gender, religious, and sexual diversity.  We believe it will take a diversity of voices to address our challenges and help us to unite as a people.
Let's forgo complacency, ignorance, and indifference.  Let us find ways to strengthen the safety and vitality of our nation, creating a country that truly does honor all people as created equal and with unalienable rights. It will take courage, vulnerability, open-mindedness, and commitment.   We can only succeed if we work together.
"Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time: the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence. Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love."

- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 
Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, Stockholm, Sweden, December 11, 1964
In for Life, After a Life of Abuse
The prevalence of trauma in justice-involved youth is well known and concerning: over 80 percent of detained youth report exposure to at least one potentially traumatic event and the majority of youth report multiple forms of victimization. This article from the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange is a first person account of an incarcerated youth's traumatic life experiences that, he believes, desensitized him to violence and arguably contributed to his engagement in criminal behavior. It further explores how incarceration exacerbated that trauma while appealing to other young men to make decisions that will lead them to a different outcome. 
The Color of Justice:  Racial and Ethnic Disparity in State Prisons
The Sentencing Project recently released "The Color of Justice: Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the State Prisons."  The report,  funded by a number of foundations, includes the scale of disparity, the drivers of disparity and recommendations for reform. 
Implicit Bias:  More Than Just a Few Bad Apples
This article from Juvenile Justice Information Exchange takes a thorough, deep look into exploring implicit bias,or the unconscious attitudes and stereotypes that inform our thoughts and behaviors, and how they impact upon how youth of color are treated in all social institutions, particularly the juvenile justice system. 
Excessive Bail Puts Poor Juveniles and Families at Disadvantage 
Last year we shared how "pay only" probation practices unfairly perpetuated the cycle of  incarceration, poverty and unemployment among many of those swept into the system, as this article from last year highlights. Since then, a number of states have terminated contracts with private corporations like JCS.

However, unfair practices remain, such as in Pennsylvania, where juveniles like 15  year old YAP youth Eugene Lee was waived to adult court and sat in adult prison for 3 months before his mom could get his bail reduced to an amount that she could pay.  This article by the Philadelphia Inquirer sheds light on the practice of holding 15 to 17 year old youth waived to the adult system for money bail at extremely high amounts. 
Children's Budget
First Focus released this detailed guide to federal spending on children, showing that children represent under 8% of the federal budget in FY2016, with a 5% overall reduction in the past two years.  
Where Does Your State Rank in Child Well-being?  
The Annie E. Casey Foundation's recently released 2016 KIDS COUNT DataBook shows that more of today's youth are healthier and completing school on time despite "mounting economic inequality and increasingly unaffordable college tuition."  The databook includes state trends in child well-being and ranks each state's efforts.  
Brown Jobs
YAP's National Director of Workforce Development Policy and Programs, Edward DeJesus, suggests a new system for workforce programs- Brown Jobs, informed by his 30 years of experience in the industry. 
Pathways to Youth Success
This Huffington Post article points out that as many as 3 million young people are disconnected from pathways to economic success and that many lack the skills, credentials and networks necessary to compete for jobs. 

YAPWORX addresses this gap and seeks to teach young people labor market skills and concepts and introduces them the opportunities and connections that will put them on the pathway to future economic opportunity.  
Congratulations to Tyler Nace, Scholarship Winner!
On June 29, scholarship winner Tyler Nace was presented with his "big check" from the Tom Jefferson Endowment Fund for Continuing Education.  He was joined by his Advocate, Mark Tennien and representatives from the Ulster County NY Department of Social Services.  

Read more about Tyler and the other scholarship recipients on our website.  
First Interview Conducted for YAP Autism Documentary
YAP won a Grassroots Grant from the PA Developmental Disabilities Council last fall to film a full-length documentary that will focus on advocating for adults with autism for employment. The film production, including the original music, will be done entirely by adults with an autism diagnosis.

Official production began in July as former adult participant of the Adult Autism Waiver program Dan Hackett completed the very first interview for the project with US Congressman Mike Doyle.

The documentary is slated for the fall of 2017. The film will be titled, "The Rainman Effect."

Responding to Trauma in Orlando  

Many of us recall the image of the long lines outside of blood blanks after the shooting at Pulse night club with individuals hoping to donate. When tragedies happen, it's not unusual to see many people in the community stepping up with the desire to help in some way.  

For YAP staff in Orlando, there was a similar desire to help the community heal.  Clinical Supervisor Claudia Swonger focused on supporting the community in addressing trauma.
  She volunteered her time doing crisis counseling with several LGBT organizations and also offered workshops to our Advocates on how to speak to children about traumatic events.  Claudia is trained in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TFBT), the leading evidence-based intervention for treating trauma, as are some of our staff in South Carolina, Texas, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Addressing trauma is critical, particularly for children. Children who are exposed to violence and other traumas in their homes, schools, and communities, as witness to or victims, can have drastic and life long negative outcomes. The National Council for Behavioral Health offers resources, including this ffact sheet on managing trauma, that may prove helpful to individuals who are struggling with healing from trauma.   
Support for LGBTQ Youth and Their Families  
Antwon* is a YAP youth in our Camden, NJ program.  When he told his mother that he is gay, she threatened to have her boyfriend "beat the gay out of him." She did not attend his court hearings or allow him in her home.

Family rejection on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity can result in poor life outcomes for LGBTQ youth, including homelessness.  As many as 40%
of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ; family rejection is the most frequently cited reason, with being forced out by their parents the second most common reason for homelessness.

Understanding and accepting sexual identity difficult for the individual, and also for their family. Parents must let go of traditional dreams they may have had for their children's lives, embarrassment they may feel because of society's norms, shame they may feel from religious beliefs, self-blame, and fears they may have because we live in a society where some people might negatively target their child purely on the basis of their sexual identity.

To promote acceptance, healing and understanding, YAP's Outpatient Clinic in Camden, NJ will be offering support groups to individuals who are LGBTQI and to their parents beginning in August.  These groups will be confidential, safe places for participants to share their feelings without being judged. For more information,  call 856.546.3701 or email krhock@yapinc.org

*not youth's real name. 
Op-Ed: People of Color Deal with Mental Illness, Too 
Implicit bias can impact our perception and understanding of mental illness, too. As Dior Vargas, a Latina feminist, mental health advocate and suicide attempt survivor writes, "The media representation of mental illness constantly excludes, ignores and silences people of color. Even when it comes to the news reports of these tragic shootings recently, when it is a white male there is the immediate speculation that he is mentally ill. Yet, when Black or Latino men commit crimes, they are just that: criminals... Mental illness doesn't discriminate but people do. People of color in the United States battle with microaggressions, cultural/religious/language barriers, and negative stereotypes. That compounded with a mental illness is debilitating."
New Bill Tackling Opioid Epidemic Passes Senate and House
The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) nearly unanimously passed in both the House and the Senate. The bill  would authorize $181 Million in new federal funds to address the nation's opioid and heroin epidemic.  It would also promote alternatives to incarceration for individuals with substance use issues and provide greater access to medication that reverses the effects of opioid overdose.

According to the CDC, over 60% of drug overdose deaths are caused from opioids, and the annual number of opioid deaths in America has quadrupled since 1999.  Seventy-eight people die every day from an opioid overdose. 

Child Welfare Bill to Preserve Families Before Senate
The federal Family First Prevention Services Act (H.R. 5456), which passed in Congress, will not be voted upon prior to summer recess. The bill's intent is twofold: to increase federal funding available to prevent children from entering into foster care through expanding access to Title IV-E funds,  and to reduce the number of children and youth in congregate care settings. The Chronicle of Social Change has a series of informative articles and Op-eds dedicated to closely following this bill. 
New Report:  What Stakeholders Can Do to Transform Virginia's Juvenile Justice System
This new report from RISE for Youth cites YAP as an example of effective community-based programming for high-risk youth.  
YAP Shares Model with Central and South American Workers
YAP Director of International Development, Diana Matteson, recently presented to a group of youth workers from Central and South America.  Diana, who is bilingual, presented in Spanish to the group as part of the "Addressing the Needs of Underserved and At-Risk Youth" program arranged by the Institute of International Education.  
Street Soccer is Expanding to Local US Programs
Street soccer is expanding from our participation in international tournaments to local YAP programs.  It was included as a featured activity at the recent Peace Street celebration in Harrisburg, PA.

Contact Diana Matteson (dmatteson@yapinc.org) and Jason Wilson (jwilson@yapinc.org) to learn more about introducing this innovative program to your community.

Youth Advocate Programs

YAP is a nationally recognized, nonprofit organization exclusively committed to the provision of community-based alternatives to out-of-home care through direct service, advocacy and policy change since 1975.