Run 4 Change — Cook County Juvenile Probation Department

Created by the Cook County Juvenile Probation Department, the Run 4 Change program helps youth avoid additional involvement in the justice system by focusing on physical activity combined with cognitive behavioral therapy and interactive peace circles. The program teaches young people the coping skills they need when faced with trauma, and by building health and individual skills with the pro-social, group activity of running, the department hopes to reduce the chances that program participants will commit another crime and end up returning to the court system. Read about Run 4 Change in the Chicago Tribune.

Youth Advocate Programs, Inc.

Youth Advocate Programs, Inc. (YAP) is a national nonprofit organization that works to keep youth safely home and out of residential placements. The mission of YAP is to support families and communities and to engage partners in the broader human services system to reduce the reliance on institutional placement. From the YAP website: “Our mission is to engage human service systems so that they rely less on institutional care and to invest more in supporting families and neighborhoods. We currently work with child welfare, juvenile justice, behavioral health, disability and education systems to develop and offer community-based alternatives for the…

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Community Connections for Youth

Community Connections for Youth (CCFY) is a New-York based nonprofit organization, located in the Bronx. The mission of CCFY is to mobilize indigenous faith and neighborhood organizations to develop effective community-based alternative-to-incarceration programs for young people. CCFY believes that increasing local community capacity to work with youth in the justice system is the key to reducing youth crime and delinquency, and improving long-term life outcomes for youth. The CCFY approach focuses on strengths and assets for youth and a commitment to increasing the positive forces in a young person’s life. From the CCFY website: The work we describe as building…

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Sunset Youth Services

Located in San Francisco’s Sunset District, Sunset Youth Services supports the development of youth from disadvantaged communities through innovative attachment strategies designed to foster creativity, belonging, and long-term stability. Since 1993, SYS has worked to build safe relationships with young people and families in San Francisco. Their approach begins with the belief that every young person has the ability to realize his or her potential given the right supports and opportunities. One of the innovative strategies of SYS involves youth in creative arts, including UpStar Records, the agency’s youth-run record label aimed at turning today’s hip hop enthusiasts into tomorrow’s…

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YouthBuild USA

Combining work experience with intensive technical apprenticeship and community service, YouthBuild is a national nonprofit organization that assists disadvantaged youth 16 to 24 years of age. Participants build affordable housing for low-income families while earning a GED (high school equivalency diploma) or traditional diploma, and developing effective work skills. Each of the more than 200 YouthBuild affiliate programs across the United States is linked to the national YouthBuild USA, which supports local programs by providing technical assistance, training and professional development, and communications support. YouthBuild’s comprehensive approach includes alternative school, community service, job training, leadership development and civic engagement, counseling,…

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Rite of Passage

Providing opportunities for troubled and at-risk youth for more than 25 years, Rite of Passage developed and now operates a robust continuum of programs. The programs offered by R.O.P. include community-based services, day schools, academic-model facilities, gender-specific treatment and secure facilities. With an emphasis on evidence-based practices and positive skill development, combined with a supportive therapeutic approach, R.O.P. is highly respected by industry experts and researchers. One of the unique features of R.O.P. programs is their consistent and positive use of physical activity and sports. Sustained physical activity – within a positive coaching and mentoring milieu – has a strong impact on…

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exalt

Located in New York City, exalt is modeled on an award-winning, best-practice designated program developed by Founder/Executive Director, Sonja Okun, at CASES, New York’s oldest alternative-to-incarceration agency. exalt was established to serve youth at all junctures along the spectrum of criminal justice involvement. The comprehensive program was designed to inspire significant and positive behavioral change, allowing youth to better recognize the importance of their own self-development, including completing their education. exalt sees personal transformation as a process driven by intrinsic motivation to create lasting behavioral change. With that belief, the program staff developed an approach that caters to youths’ desire for…

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DYRS – Washington, DC

Washington DC’s Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS) launched a new initiative (first called the “Lead Entity and Service Coalition Initiative” and later “DC YouthLink”) to coordinate the efforts of the Department with community-based organizations providing services to court-involved youth. The goal of the initiative was to supervise youthful offenders in the least restrictive method consistent with public safety and to build the efforts of agencies around the principles later articulated in the 2010 report, Positive Youth Justice. The DYRS was led at the time by executive director Vinny Schiraldi (who later became Probation Commissioner in New York City), and chief…

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Philadelphia Mural Arts

The Mural Arts Program in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, began as a graffiti-removal initiative with a mural-painting component designed to engage adjudicated graffiti writers in learning more positive and productive ways to express their creativity. Since its inception, over 3,000 murals have been created and seen by thousands of tourists. Mural Arts on the Today Show While Mural Arts’ focus has grown substantially over the years, one fundamental objective still applies: to use mural-making and art education as a means of combating and preventing crime. Through its Restorative Justice programming, Mural Arts offers a constructive, creative outlet for Philadelphia’s chronically truant/delinquent youth…

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ROCA

Roca — Chelsea and Springfield, MA. Relationship building is central to engaging youth in positive roles and productive social activities. Youth development interventions are unlikely to be effective without a strong focus on social development. A Boston area initiative called Roca, Incorporated, addresses the needs of low-income and/or immigrant youth who are at risk for involvement in criminal justice, gangs, youth pregnancy, or school attrition. The program focuses on relationships between young people and their families. Roca uses a High-Risk Youth Intervention Model that employs sustained relationships to support young people in believing that education, employment, and civic responsibility are valid…

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