Dear Friend,

The Board of Directors of Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc. recently completed a significant step in the organization’s succession plan, naming me President and CEO. The appointment followed the retirement of Jeff Fleischer whose YAP service as CEO and in other leadership positions spanned 38 years.

I appreciate the gravity of my new role. It comes at an exciting time when communities across the U.S. and globally are looking to transform their child welfare, youth justice, behavioral health, developmental disabilities, public safety, and school systems to be more effective, equitable, and economical. As a result, more young people who might otherwise be placed in detention, prison, or residential care are receiving individual and family wraparound services instead. And, to improve public safety outcomes, more municipalities are incorporating community-based interventions that include individual and family wraparound services for those at the highest risk for engaging in violence. This is real reform, and I am both humbled and honored to lead an organization that is mission focused on delivering and advocating for safe and effective community-based alternatives to residential placement and incarceration that empower individuals, families, and neighborhoods to thrive.

Through partnerships with local and regional governmental systems, we are committed to delivering our unique “no reject-no eject” unconditional caring strength-based YAPWrap™ service model to keep kids and families safely home. Here are a few stories and some recent news coverage that demonstrate how your support is helping us bring systems change to nearly 150 communities in 35 states and Washington, DC.

Gary Ivory

President and CEO

New Jersey YAP Program Participants Overcome Obstacles to Pursue Dreams

Jesse with YAP Middlesex County Community Anti-Violence Director Emanuel Shumate

Four former New Jersey YAP participants recently received scholarships to further their education through the nonprofit’s Tom Jeffers Endowment Fund for Continuing Education. Named after YAP founder Tom Jeffers, the scholarship fund is supported by YAP employees nationally, who generously donate through regular payroll deductions. Scholarship recipients are current and former program participants. As part of its 45th anniversary, New Jersey YAP programs awarded scholarships to four young people. Ronald and Rayvon from Essex County, Hailey from Morris-Sussex County and Jesse from Middlesex County, will use their scholarships for tuition to pursue their secondary education. Ronald plans to attend Hohokus School of Trade and Technical Science; Rayvon and Hailey will enroll in Sussex County Community College; and Jesse started classes at Universal Technical Institute in July.

Read more about Ronald, Rayvon, Hailey and Jesse

At Age 15, Blessyn Offers Behavioral Health Hope in a New Youth Advocate Programs PSA Campaign

Fifteen-year-old Blessyn looks at her life these days and smiles. She has come long way. A couple of years ago, her mother died. Alone with her father who battles chronic health issues, she struggled to manage her emotions.

“After I lost my mom, I was depressed and resentful. I couldn’t find my way,” Blessyn says in a new public service announcement (PSA). “But I’m not lost,” she adds.

Blessyn with Behavioral Health Services professional Tiffany Love

The new PSA is part of Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc.’s national “But I’m Not” public awareness campaign, which includes video, radio and print ads appearing in donated media across the U.S. The PSA campaign features current and former participants in the national nonprofit’s Youth Justice, Child Welfare, Intellectual Disabilities/Autism, and now with Blessyn’s participation, Behavioral Health programs. YAP hires neighborhood-based staff to provide culturally responsive individual and family services that focus on program participants’ strengths and empower them with tools to thrive. Through one of the nonprofit’s school-based programs, Blessyn began working with YAP Behavioral Health Services professional Tiffany Love, who lives in her community and works at her high school, which is also Love’s alma mater.

Blessyn ends the PSA with a smile and hope. “And now I’m finding joy and excited about my future.”

YAP in the News

Check out some of the recent news stories about YAP’s people and programs.

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