Harrisburg, Pa. -- PA Rep. Sheryl Delozier (R-Cumberland) joined Youth Advocate Programs (YAP) Inc. leaders gathering this week for a public policy training in Harrisburg. Rep. Delozier authored a new Pa. law that seals records of second- and third-degree misdemeanor convictions after 10 years if there has been no subsequent arrest, prosecution or conviction. YAP, founded 44 years ago in Harrisburg, is receiving increased recognition for being a cost-effective community-based alternative to youth incarceration, behavioral health institutions and child welfare placements.
The training was hosted by YAP Chief of Public Policy Shaena Fazal to help the organization’s regional leaders learn ways to engage in policy to advance YAP’s mission. As part of the event, YAP Regional Director Bob Swanson led a tour of YAP's Harrisburg Community Treatment Center, an alternative to youth detention where program staff provide individual and family behavioral health interventions, aggression replacement, relapse prevention and other treatment and support. YAP’s public affairs consultants and YAP National Communications Director Kelly Williams joined Fazal in facilitating the training.
Some tips from the training:
- Know what committees your representatives sit on. That’s where their priorities are.
- Know both sides of the issue.
- Share relatable stories. Write op-eds to share your viewpoint and expertise.
- Collaborate with organizations that share your goals.
- Build a relationships with lawmakers. Don’t make first meeting the one where you have an ask.
Recruited from the neighborhoods of the individuals they serve, YAP Advocates are mentors and more who empower youth and families with individualized toolkits that help them to identify, nurture and share their strengths. YAP serves 19,000 young people and families in 22 states and the District of Columbia. For more information on YAP, please go to www.yapinc.org.
People wanting to learn whether a Pa. criminal record is eligible for sealing can visit mycleanslatepa.com.