BALTIMORE, Md. -- Maryland-DC Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc. staff gathered to celebrate the progress of individuals and families they serve. An alternative to youth incarceration and out-of-home placement, YAP has begun applying its model to support adults returning from prison.
In the region, in addition to partnering with youth justice and child welfare systems, YAP also supports returning adult citizens through partnerships with the Washington DC Department of Youth Rehabilitative Services (DYRS) and DC Department of Corrections. As a new Baltimore City Safe Streets partner, YAP hires returning citizens to help keep Penn North neighborhood families safe and connect them with valuable resources.
While YAP recognized successes of all regional program participants, the organization spotlighted three youth served through its partnership with Maryland Department of Juvenile Services (DJS). The young people – Jacquwan, Osman Erick – all college students now, received the YAP Tom Jeffers Endowment Fund for Continuing Education scholarship, one of the tools available to program participants and their families.
Among the YAP community partners honored was Baltimore Flight American Fusion Restaurant & Bar owner Ray “Ziggy” Davis, the event’s keynote speaker. He spoke about why he’s passionate about providing work opportunities for YAP youth. The organization also recognized Dwain Johnson, who retired after serving as Baltimore City Regional director for DJS, where he led the department’s efforts to partner with YAP. The regional YAP team gave special thanks to Coppin State University Professor Dr. Argin Hutchins, who provides behavioral health services to youth in the program.
YAP’s Baltimore Program Director Eddie Moore, Prince George’s/Montgomery County Program Director Syl Parson, and Howard County Program Coordinator Danielle Franklin recognized youth they serve as well as their fellow staff members. YAP Penn North Safe Streets Director Dennis Wise and Safe Streets Crime Prevention Coordinator Wayne Brewton honored their staff members while Jernigan expressed gratitude to Baltimore City Safe Streets Director Dedra Layne. YAP’s DC Credible Messenger team leaders Ed DeJesus and Charles Bentil celebrated the success of returning citizens they serve and their progress with rebuilding their lives and reconnecting with their communities.