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YouthZone

YouthZone requests funding for programs to divert kids ages 10-18 away from the juvenile justice system and get families back on track! A 20-year study shows that kids who go through YouthZone don't repeat offend, have higher self esteem, and are less likely to abuse substances.

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Mental Health Counseling

Class

Youth Development 

Beneficiaries

Adolescents/Youth (13-19 years)
Families
Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgender
Offenders, Ex-Offenders
Parents

Description

Trauma focused and cognitive behavioral therapy for youth and families.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

YouthZone programs have 25 years of positive evolution from an independent evaluator.

Substance Use Education/Seeking Safety

Class

Youth Development 

Beneficiaries

Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)

Description

Seeking Safety is an evidence-based, present-focused curriculum designed to help people attain safety from trauma and/or substance abuse. The model is highly flexible. It can been conducted in group or individual format; for men and women; adults or adolescents; for any length of treatment; any level of care (outpatient, inpatient, residential); any type of trauma, any type of substance. Clients do not have to meet formal criteria for PTSD or substance abuse - it is often used as a general model to teach coping skills. Seeking Safety has been successfully implemented for many years across vulnerable populations including those who are homeless, the criminal justice community, those who experience domestic violence, those who suffer from severe mental illness, and those who are veterans or have military involvement, among others.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

For 19 years YouthZone has contracted with outside evaluator Jerome Evans, PhD, to analyze our client data. Dr. Evans helped YouthZone develop the YouthZone Screening for Positive Youth DevelopmentTM, a pre/post survey tool that is used to assess youth risk and assets, collect data for measuring program impact on clients, and inform agency programming and goals.
The YouthZone Screening for Positive Youth DevelopmentTM measures five critical areas impacting developmental outcomes: Alcohol, Drug and Tobacco Use; Delinquency and Aggression; Self-Deprecation (perception of self as a victim and plans of suicide); Optimism and Problem Solving; and School and Community Involvement. YouthZone's impact is measured by the direction of change in both protective and risk factors assessed in each of those five areas.
YouthZone clients in our most recent evaluation (2010 to 2013) showed statistically significant improvement (p<.001) in all five critical areas measured by the YouthZone Screening. Our next evaluation will cover 2013 to 2016 and will be available November 2019.

Restorative Justice

Class

Youth Development 

Beneficiaries

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years)
Crime/ Abuse Victims
Female Youth/Adolescents (14 - 19 years)
Male Youth/Adolescents (14 - 19 years)
Offenders/Ex-offenders

Description

Restorative justice provides a format for a youthful offender to face and apologize to his/her victim. A plan is developed for the youth to make things right with the victim and the community.
Restorative justice is an option YouthZone counselors can recommend for youth who are deemed appropriate. It provides the opportunity to bring together the juvenile offender, his/her family, the victim, a community member and two facilitators, who come to a consensus in a written agreement as to how the offender can repair the harm done to the his/her victim, family, community and him/herself. Restorative justice can also be used with probation, Department of Youth Corrections, and schools.

Why we do Restorative Justice:
Restorative justice benefits youth:
 Reduces recidivism - one of YouthZone highest success (non-recidivism) rate.
 Changes behavior and perception.
 Increases level of personal responsibility, "facing the music".
 Increases level of accountability.
 Increases level of ownership of action.
 Humanizes/puts face to victim.
 Plants seeds/beginnings of empathy.
 Increases level of attachment to community.
 Gives new realization of how actions impact entire community.
Restorative justice benefits parent:
 Involved as integral part of process.
 Safe setting to tell child how his/her action has affected parent.
Restorative justice benefits victim:
 Gives feeling of empowerment rather than victimization.
 Brings closure.
 Humanizes/puts face to crime.
 Changes perception/attitude that "all kids are bad".
 Restores trust.
 Victim has opportunity to tell story and be heard.
Restorative justice benefits community:
 Costs less.
 Restores trust.
 Helps youth become more responsible and productive members of community.
 Gives opportunity to become proactive in helping youth and making positive change.
Restorative justice benefits all parties:
 Utilizes strengths.
 Ends on strength.
 Gives equal voice to all parties.
 Creates safe space for all parties.
 Creates connections, relational based.
 Experiential.

YouthZone is now doing direct referrals from schools and law enforcement for pre-file to eliminate the court process.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

Two girls shoplifted from a local store. The experienced shoplifter taught the other youth how to shoplift successfully. Much to the surprise of the experienced shoplifter, they were arrested and issued a summons for court to face charges of petty theft. The two girls chose to participate in a Restorative Justice circle as part or their court sentence. Within the Restorative Justice circle, the girls told their stories and heard from the members of the circle how their actions impact the community, the victim and their families. The girls helped create contracts which drew on their strengths and talents to repair the harm to each party represented: the victim, the community, their families and themselves. These contracts were personalized and included apology letters to the victim, writing a script for a media outreach film, community service with a local non-profit, and utilizing YouthZone services to build a more positive relationship between the girls and their parents.

Diversion Program and Case management

Class

Youth Development 

Beneficiaries

Female Children ( 5 - 14 years)
Female Youth/Adolescents (14 - 19 years)
Male Children (5 - 14 years)
Male Youth/Adolescents (14 - 19 years)
Offenders/Ex-offenders

Description

This program is designed to prevent first time and low level offenders at the District, County and municipal court level from entering the Juvenile Justice System. 80% of all cases in these courts in Pitkin, Garfield, and west Eagle Counties are referred to YouthZone.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

In the most recent evaluation, covering July 2010 through June 2013, according to Dr. Evans, "YouthZone has the best collection of data anywhere, and I evaluate youth programs all over the country. This is the best evaluation I've seen in 15 years covering YouthZone's programs."

YouthZone Parent Coaching and Education

Class

Education 

Beneficiaries

Adults

Description

Parent educators from YouthZone support parents with fast, effective strategies that focus on building parents' individual strengths. Our education is goal-oriented, judgment-free, encouraging and empowering.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

Testimonial from many parents:
YouthZone Saved My Son's Life
"My son encountered some trouble in middle school in the Roaring Fork Valley. It wasn't life-threatening, but the administrators took it very seriously and suspended him for a long period of time. This left a stigma on my son. Having been a very popular student, he lost most of his friends. Unfortunately in such a small Valley, filled with gossip, it really wore on his self-esteem.
A year later he still wasn't exactly himself, but he had developed a gift of masking his feelings through humor. I figured he was "just being a teenager." He managed to get into another bout of trouble. Again, it wasn't anything too serious or out of character for a teenager, but it did land him at the doors of Youth Zone.
While filling out the standard YouthZone evaluation form, to my surprise my son indicated that he had suicidal thoughts over the past year. Our meeting wore on late into the evening. While some individuals might have been in a hurry to get home, our Youth Zone case manager was rightly concerned and didn't have us leave until every rock was overturned.
Out of this crisis came the realization that my son had very seriously contemplated killing himself and had several plans to carry them out. Each plan would have definitely left him dead. Case manager Randy worked with us, a suicide prevention team, and a therapist late into the night. Our family went into immediate intensive therapy and the outcome has been a happier, stable child who has improved self-esteem as well as the words to express how he feels instead of bottling up his feelings.
Without Randy and YouthZone, I might have been the parent whose child commits suicide and says, "but he seemed like a normal, moody teenager, how did this happen?" Thank you YouthZone for the services you provide this community. You saved my son's life."

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