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Dorienne J. Silva
Chief Operations Officer and President of YAP International Development and Relations
International Development Director
To download a brochure about our international programs, click here.
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Just like individuals and families, international communities have unique sets of needs influenced by culture, custom and challenging socio-economic climates. Guided by its unwavering commitment to cultural competency, YAP works closely and in various capacities with international partners across five continents to address their endemic needs, goals and objectives in serving high risk youth and young adults.
From Ireland to Sierra Leone, communities abroad look to the YAP experience to inform their efforts in providing community based alternatives to institutionalization, bridging critical service gaps in highly challenged environments, and promoting civic engagement to spur social change.
The need for strength-based sustainable community-based supports for at-risk youth and their families transcends physical boundaries. The YAP Wraparound and Advocacy Model, with its multiple dimensions and strong commitment to client driven interventions, has proven an effective and adaptable response to this far reaching need within widely diverse international communities.
In February 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training and YAP, in conjunction with The Ministry of Justice of the Kingdom of Morocco, convened in Rabat and Casablanca, Morocco. Ensuing meetings with local stakeholders, social workers, magistrates, probation officers and judges, focused on developing more protective and preventive measures in working with justice-involved youth.
Some of the participating judges and magistrates previously visited YAP’s programs in Baltimore and Philadelphia and recognized the benefits of YAP's holistic approach in working with youth offenders. Consistent with their own enlightened legal reforms, they enlisted YAP's guidance to reduce their historical reliance on group home settings and further explore the benefits of YAP's supportive community interventions and effective youth advocacy measures.
YAP provided an intensive two day training on its core principles, program approach, assessment process, child and family team, individualized service planning and discharge preparation. YAP also facilitated highly productive dialogues on creation of a system of care in Morocco. Creative collaborations, resource development, networking constructs and sustainability plans were all discussed.
Three years of tenacious efforts by the Australian non-profit Life Without Barriers (LWB) and YAP to introduce the YAP Model to Australia came to fruition in the Spring of 2014 when two separate YAP delegations traveled down-under to build upon the transcontinental organizations' shared commitment to serving high risk children and young people.
A visiting delegation of LWB leadership to onsite YAP programs stateside and in Ireland a year earlier further buoyed the interest of the Australian nonprofit to adopt a workable version of the YAP Model in their country. The experience led to funding for YAP's assistance in its successful design and effectuation of a pilot program in Sydney. This innovative pilot goes to the heart of YAP’s mission: bringing young people out of residential care into community-based settings with enough support to be successful.
LWB's two (2) year contract with YAP seeks to reduce reliance on institutional care with a focus on their aboriginal youth population. Though these indigenous youth comprise just 1% of their population, they constitute 50% of out of home placements.
YAP's assistance will continue over the next two years as the Sydney pilot evolves to meet its own needs and challenges. A university research partner will evaluate the YAP pilot in Australia. A quality outside evaluation component will help refine program effectiveness and is anticipated to bolster YAP's national record of success by documenting the efficacy of the YAP Model on an international level.
In October 2014, Dynamo International Streetworkers Network held its International Pilot Group meeting in Tarija, Bolivia. The meeting in Bolivia marks the first Pilot Group that YAP has participated in as new members of Dynamo. The week of meetings included the International Pilot Group and a first-ever convergence of street workers from every department of Bolivia to organize and create a national platform to exchange ideas on best practice.
Dynamo has 50 nations represented in its membership and advocates for people living in situations of the street or in marginalized communities. Dynamo represents the interests of worldwide social street workers in policy development and networking at national, regional and international levels with the aim of improving the living conditions of people living in the street. Dynamo organizes street outreach workers and develops local and international solidarity between street outreach workers and other partners actively fighting against any violation of human rights.
YAP looks forward to working with this like-minded organization to encourage dialogue among street outreach workers, collaborate on training and the sharing of best practice, and develop youth exchanges. Meetings in Bolivia allowed for gaining of new knowledge, an understanding of cultural contexts of people doing community-based work around the world, and the laying of groundwork for collaboration. Learn more about Dynamo at www.travailderue.org.