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Congratulations to IYAF Member "Youth Advocates Ghana"!

 

The Netherlands Ambassador to Ghana, His Excellency Ambassador Ron Strikker, and a high powered delegation from the Netherlands Embassy, Accra paid a working visit the team at Youth Advocates Ghana,Nsawam. The visit was initiated when Dr. Ger J. Steenbergen ,First Secretary Health, Netherlands Embassy visited the organization a month earlier as part of funding/Partners support and  follow up visit at the office of  Youth Advocates Ghana (YAG).

Youth Advocates Ghana in view of the ambassador`s visit organized “Together With Youth-Event” ,a youth engagement forum for Senior high school students, youth leaders and project beneficiaries to interact, exchange ideas and to showcase the three projects; Adolescent Health Corner-AHC, My Jorley and Film project being implemented by Youth Advocates Ghana and WEB.foundation with financial support from the Dutch Embassy and also to establish a wide-based community movement which will encourage the positive involvement of young people in addressing issues that affect their education, social life and sexual reproductive health. It was also aimed at empowering the youth to effectively use the social media to enhance learning and research.

The AHC project as implemented in four senior high schools in Nsawam seeks to build the capacity of guidance and counseling teachers and units to effectively address sexual and reproductive health needs among students through counseling and referral services. The My Jorley is an interactive game app developed to influence attitude and inform decisions around abortion, sexual consent and address teenage pregnancy among young people. The film project on the other hand empowers young people with skills in short film production to tackle social issues and to bring to light the challenges of young people in accessing reproductive health services.

During the youth consultation and engagement session, employment challenges,  Sexual health and reproductive rights issues including teenage pregnancy and unsafe abortion; drug abuse, armed robbery, streetism, entrepreneurship and scholarship opportunities were  identified and discussed as the main challenge facing the youth in the area.

The Netherlands Ambassasor to Ghana, Ron Strikker, commended the Youth Advocates Ghana for their leadership and initiatives. He also urged the youth to stay focus on their studies and also involve themselves in productive activities that will help in developing their skills and potentials.He added that “This is fully in line with our own approach in the Netherlands. The Dutch have a specific youth friendly policy that specifically invites young people to be fully engaged in the work of the government". He stressed the need for frequent youth empowerment programmes from other organizations to support the youth in the area.

The Director for Youth Advocates Ghana, Emmanuel Ametepey said the outcome of the youth consultative engagement will inform their strategic decision and direction in the next three-five years. The mission of YAG is to increase access to sexual reproductive health information and services for young people, support the educational needs of vulnerable children and to equip young people with knowledge and skills for job creation. Youth Advocates Ghana(YAG) 9th November 2016


My Life Changing Experience

Hello…My name is Lottie. I was a part of a program called the YAP Truancy Program in Pittsburgh. During my time in the program, I learned things that I never knew, seen, or heard about before. I learned to love myself and others by just being there and lighting a place with my smile or tears. I came from nothing to be something and I have my mind made up. I got involved in this program in my 11 grade year of high school which was a very difficult time for me to get up on time for school. I had a wonderful advocate to help me along the way, Ms. Heather Cropp. She has helped me change my life for the better.

The penpal project with Ireland started in the Summer/Fall of 2015 when I met a young, beautiful girl named Charlene. I was afraid at first because I didn’t know what to say and I didn’t want to seem too weird or too talkative. We started off just asking one another simple questions. As weeks went by, we started getting know one another more and talked about how we should meet someday. She had sent me some gifts from Ireland which I kept because they inspired me to want to visit Ireland someday. I continued to talk to Charlene even after I left the program because she asked me for help with things so I talked to her about how she could make changes.

Months later, I got a call from Ms. Heather. She asked me if I would like to do a presentation for YAP's 40th Anniversary. I chose to go speak in Harrisburg at the Anniversary. I was shocked when I discovered I would be meeting my penpal from Ireland. I could barely sleep the whole time I was there. We would stay up all night talking, laughing, and having fun. I couldn’t seem to get no sleep being away from home but Charlene told me that I should not be scared because I was still in America when she was farther away from home than I was. When our visit ended, I promised Charlene that I would come see her one day.

On August 18, that day came. YAP offered me the opportunity to visit Ireland. It was my first time traveling or even riding an airplane. I got to visit Dublin, Galway, and Aran Islands. Everywhere was so beautiful and felt peaceful. Everyone was nice, welcoming, and well dressed. They made me feel welcomed and encouraged me to try new things such as the food which was amazing. I was invited to the YAP Ireland Conference where I got to speak about my journey with YAP and having a penpal. While at the conference, I got to meet teens in the YAP Ireland Program and hear their stories. While we live in different countries, our want to be heard was the same. I had a wonderful experience and everyone joked how we brought 5 days of sunshine! I loved that I got a chance to go on a journey to a whole new world opening more opportunities for for my future. THANK YOU YAP FOR CHANGING MY LIFE FROM BETTER TO SUCCESSFUL!!

YAP Inc. 14th October 2016


Street Soccer Cross Cultural Exchange

Street Soccer Cross Cultural Exchange                                          

Building on friendships that grew from November events in New York and Pennsylvania when (US Embassy Buenos Aires-sponsored) a team from the FuDE organization in Argentina sent a delegation to conduct street soccer workshops at the Orange County NY YAP Program and then shared a workshop on street soccer and the game in Harrisburg as part of the 40th Anniversary activities, YAP Ireland CLG staff and Newburgh staff reunited to introduce street soccer to the YAP Ireland CLG community in Dublin and Galway this month. Jason Wilson, Director of Intensive Services at Orange County YAP, and Advocates Michelle Toia and Ezra Vega share this report from the field:

YAP, Inc participated in a cross cultural exchange with YAP Ireland CLG from May 5 through May 11. On May 5th, YAP Inc staff trained team leaders, advocates and community supports in the methodology of the street soccer movement. During this time, staff were introduced to core values of respect, cooperation and solidarity through using soccer as a tool of social transformation. On Friday, street soccer programming was implemented with over 35 young people and staff coming together. Through icebreakers, interactive activities and street soccer demonstrations, the youth of Ireland were invited to participate in the street soccer modality.

Throughout the exchange, it has been profoundly awesome to meet the young people, advocates and staff that live and breathe the mission every day. It has been a wonderful experience to be here with the YAP family that have continued to go above and beyond in their work to keep kids safely at home.

Through continued collaboration, I look forward to shared success. YAP Ireland now has the tools to move the street soccer programming forward in Ireland and possesses the passion and capabilities to transform lives, change biographies and in the process, make the world a little brighter for all.

Special thanks to YAP Ireland CLG staff for coordinating the activities and their warm welcome: Andrew Chapple, Brenda Kennedy, Peter McGeough and the rest of the YAP Ireland team!
YAP Inc. 12th May 2016




YAP Inc. Founder Tom Jeffers

We are sad to announce that Tom Jeffers, the beloved founder of YAP Inc. and a pioneer in the provision of community-based services to juvenile offenders, passed away on Friday 9th October 2015.

Tom founded YAP Inc. in 1975 with the belief that kids and adults belong and do best from within their communities instead of institutions. He dedicated his life to helping systems better meet the needs of those they serve through providing them with community based options for supporting even high and complex need youth and families safely.

Tom's passion, values and mission drove YAP Inc. in 1975, and still drive it today. In the 40 years since Tom started YAP Inc. they have worked with over 250,000 individuals and families in over 100 communities across 18 states and a number of systems.

Tom helped to change many biographies, including YAP Inc's own. We are all grateful for his vision and leadership, and will continue to honor his legacy through ongoing efforts to strengthen communities, one biography at a time.

“Tom gave us and our world all so much,” said Jeff Fleischer, CEO, YAP Inc. “It’s our job now to continue carrying on his work.”

“He was a visionary,”  said Carey Cockerell, a member of YAP Inc.’s policy advisory board. “He was ahead of his field, and he provided light in many people’s lives including mine.”
YAP Inc. 12th October 2015

40th Fridays

This year YAP Inc. celebrates 40 years of strengthening communities, one biography at a time.  Each Friday YAP Inc. will share photos and stories that highlight the lives changed, communities impacted and those that help make change happen.  One such story is highlighted below.

YAP Community: Sandtown-Winchester - Baltimore, MD (5/8/15)

The West Baltimore neighborhood of Sandtown-Winchester has struck national attention recently due to protests and outrage sparked by the death of Freddie Gray. Thirty percent of YAP’s Baltimore youth reside in Sandtown-Winchester, as does our Baltimore Director Craig Jernigan.  It is a predominantly African-American neighborhood with many challenges- 1/3 of the houses are vacant, more than 20% of working age residents are unemployed, the poverty rate is about 30% (with 55% of households earning less than $25,000 annually), and they have the highest percentage of their community incarcerated than any other Baltimore neighborhood. Baltimore spends $17 million annually alone on incarceration of residents from this community, with each youth incarcerated costing over $100K a year,  draining much needed resources from the community.

It is clear that this neighborhood is struggling in many ways; yet even so, young people in YAP's program and other residents both young and old are working peacefully together to make their voices heard and to affect positive change. Baltimore YAP sees the people and youth of  Sandtown-Winchester as the neighborhood's best assets. YAP youth and staff have been part of the clean-up efforts, rallies, protests and assist Baltimore City with creating a “new normal.”  This weekend, YAP youth are participating in a day long event organized by Baltimore Youth Rise and the Justice League, where they will be able to peacefully march, express their thoughts during a town hall meeting, and rally together with others from their community.  We are proud of our Baltimore YAP family, especially our youth leaders and we stand in solidarity with them as they work in collaboration with community and city leaders to achieve peace and justice. 
YAP Inc. 8th May 2015

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