Off Drugs and Working Full-Time, Julian Credits His Advocates for Empowering Him with Tools to Turn His Life Around

When Julian was a program participant with Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc. in Providence, Rhode Island, his goals were to go back to high school and get off drugs. Two years later, he finished high school, has a full-time job at a thrift store and most importantly, – April 26 marked two years since the 20-year-old has remained drug-free.

YAP is a national nonprofit in 35 states and the District of Columbia that provides community-based services as a more effective and equitable alternative to residential youth justice, child welfare and behavioral health placements. Across the country, cities are also making the YAP model part of their community violence reduction initiatives.

“My [YAP] Advocates were very understanding and patient,” Julian said, adding that they helped him obtain a social security card so he could get a job. “They would help sit down with me to get myself on the right track and work with me on my goals.”

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Young Mother Expresses Gratitude for her YAP Child Welfare Program Advocate

Mary Moore and her family

My name is Mary Moore and being a first-time mother, I was lost after giving birth to my daughter Brielle. I was suffering from postpartum depression and didn’t have the knowledge on how to be a parent. I was given the opportunity to work with Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc., but was unsure of how YAP was going to be able to help me. I made the choice to give it a try not only for myself but for my family.

YAP Intensive Family Coordinator Erin Mitchell came into my home and has helped me tremendously with not only my confidence, but also my comfort levels on being a parent. I was shown new opportunities, skill improvements and genuine compassion. YAP has helped me grow into the parent that I am today!

No matter how difficult the situation was, Erin never gave up on me and was always there to push me to never give up. I am so beyond grateful to have been given this opportunity to be in this program and to have had such a wonderful Advocate in Erin. Erin has been the nicest and most respectful person I’ve ever met. She’s helped me excel in many aspects of parenthood.

For myself, YAP means hope. This program is here to remind me that help is always at my fingertips. I recommend this wonderful program to anyone who needs help.

Behavioral Health Therapist at YAP: A Perfect Fit for Frida Shu

Twelve years after getting a job at Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc. as a Behavioral Health program therapist, Frida Shu reflects on her journey and sees why her work comes so naturally.

Last year, Frida was on the campus of an elementary school to visit with a program participant and heard someone call her name.

“I heard, ‘Ms. Frida; Ms. Frida.’” The voice sounded familiar. “When I looked up, I couldn’t believe it,” she said. The voice belonged to a young woman in her mid-twenties.

“She was the first person I ever worked with at YAP back in 2011,” Frida said. “At the time, she was battling anxiety and depression. When I saw her and she called me over to her, she was picking up her daughter. I was so happy; I gave her a hug. I’d been wondering about her,” she said. “‘This is my car; I have a boyfriend,’” she remembers the young woman saying as she eagerly caught Frida up on how well she was doing.

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