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YAP engages in a number of activities to advance our mission and core beliefs.
Our agency was founded in 1975 to provide direct services to youth returning from Camp Hill Prison in Pennsylvania. To this day, our primary focus is providing direct service to vulnerable and high need youth and families. Annually, we serve more than 20,000 families a year through programs in over 100 counties in 29 states. Our continuum of programming has diversified over the years from providing support to youth involved in the juvenile justice system to also working with youth and families in the child welfare system, with behavioral health needs, with developmental disabilities, with school and educational challenges, and, most recently, with adults in the justice system.
Through our direct service experience, we identified needs that have led us to expand our activities. YAP also promotes our mission through advocacy and policy change, training, consultation, and fundraising.
YAP’s youth and family empowerment and self-advocacy officially launched in 2009 with our VOICE initiative. Our commitment to the mantra “Nothing about us without us” continues today, with advocacy activities following under our Policy and Advocacy Center (PAC). Launched in 2012, the PAC works to influence public policy through advocacy and collaboration with other like-minded organizations.
Since 1991, YAP has helped “change the hearts and minds” of jurisdictions, schools, like-minded organizations and the broader public through providing training, consultation, technical assistance and education. YAP’s ASSET Network- Autism and Developmental Disability Services, Supports, Education and Training- helps inform and shape attitudes and approaches to supporting individuals with developmental disabilities and autism through training and consultation.
In 2004, YAP started our Youth Endowment Fund. The purpose of the fund is to support our youth and families in pursuing college or vocational schools to advance their skills and economic opportunities. The Endowment began awarding scholarships in 2007. Since its inception, YAP staff have raised over $860,000 for the Endowment and awarded 52 scholarships, 6 in the last six months alone. Over 100 YAP employees contribute to this fund through weekly payroll deductions.