How Youth Service Programs Stay Relevant & Sustainable
Services for youth are an integral component of any community. Schools are a prime example – a required service geared to support the positive development of youth. Some communities have much more to offer, such as community sports, after-school programs, or a community center. What becomes challenging is when these resources are limited, not geared to support youth with risk factors, and when youth are not accessing these supports. This is when the faith and community-based agencies, many times in partnership with local, state, and national governments, step in to provide that intentional and critical safety net for the youth and young adults, and their families, in the community. From the moment of conception to the creation of a youth service program, a youth service provider must be thinking about an essential element –sustainability. How will this service have a lasting impact and remain integrated and relevant in the community in order to achieve the desired change we want?
Youth Collaboratory works to engage and convene the youth services field to innovate, evaluate, and drive effective strategies that ensure the safety and well-being of youth and youth adults. Through relationship-driven consulting services, strategic national partnerships, and research-based program models, we operate across sectors to help organizations focus on one goal: strengthening outcomes for youth and young adults in high-risk situations. Annually, we connect with over 12,000 non-profit providers, funders, and researchers, and provides intensive training and support to about 3,000 of these organizations each year. Youth Collaboratory tends to attract the innovators in the field and has over 165 member organizations across the country who are engaged regularly to assess emerging issues in local communities—and offer real-time solutions.
Based on our experience in working with diverse youth service agencies nationally, along with input from six youth service agency leaders from across the country representing diverse approaches to youth services, Youth Collaboratory has identified key considerations and strategies for agencies to include as they develop and sustain both their programs, and the services they have identified as critical to their communities.
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