Community Submitted Content
Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc., which provides community-based services as an alternative to youth incarceration and congregate residential care, received a $20,000 grant from the Community Foundation of South Jersey’s (CFSJ) South Jersey Covid-19 Response Fund.
The CFSJ funding went to Cumberland/Cape May County YAP, one of nearly 150 programs in 33 states where the nonprofit partners with youth justice, child welfare, behavioral health, and other systems to provide safe community-based youth and family services. Cumberland/Cape May County YAP partners with the Cumberland County Juvenile Center.
“As a community-based youth program, we felt the effects of the COVID-19 shut down almost immediately. Canceling in-person community interaction required a huge shift in how the staff connected with and served the families in need. Our Advocates filled holes left during the pandemic,” said New Jersey YAP Regional Director Stephanie Moore. “More funds are needed to sustain and grow the program, but thanks to CFSJ, we are able to keep our feet on the ground where we are needed most.”
The CFSJ COVID-19 Relief Fund grant helped YAP offset pandemic-related state funding cuts, in essence helping YAP stay alive in South Jersey. The funding helped compensate staff and covered costs of transitioning to virtual services and gas expenses for traveling to meet program participants. YAP also used the grant for bonuses for staff members who went above and beyond to provide services while ensuring that program participants’ basic needs were met during the pandemic.
YAP’s neighborhood-based Advocates and mobile behavioral health professionals are trained to empower program participants to see their strengths and connect them with tools to achieve positive goals. The Advocates also work with parents and guardians, connecting them with tools to firm the family foundation.
The program has already proven successful. About 86% of program participants in the program don’t re-offend and remain arrest-free, according to John Jay College of Criminal Justice research.
Additionally, nearly 90 %of the youth still lived in their communities with less than 5 % of participants in secure placement.
Now that social restrictions have been lifted, students have struggled to adapt back to the school routine.
Library hours are still restricted after-school sports are limited. Families have had to reacclimate to at-work schedules, and youth are simply choosing not to go to school.
Youth are also battling new social anxieties and depression. YAP Advocates are working to overcome this new set of challenges, often helping to pay families’ bills out of their own pockets.
“Being able to assist an organization like YAP and help them continue to be in the community, in the homes, and making a difference was very important to us,” said Andy Fraizer, Executive Director of CFSJ. “Funding is key to helping the youth and the families YAP is dedicated to. Hearing their success stories and knowing we can make a difference is all CFSJ needed to hear.”
Youth Advocate Programs, Inc.
Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc. is a national nonprofit advocating for and delivering evidence-based services in homes and communities as a more effective and racially equitable alternative to youth incarceration, congregate child welfare, behavioral health, and intellectual disabilities placements, and neighborhood violence.
Headquartered in Harrisburg, Pa., Youth Advocate Programs has been in an existence for 47 years. YAP’s work is built on a foundation of research demonstrating that people do better throughout life when they have support where they live, work, learn and play.
To learn more about YAP, visit yapinc.org.
Community Foundation of South Jersey
The Community Foundation of South Jersey (CFSJ) envisions an eight-county region thriving where all neighbors aspire, succeed, participate, and give.
The vision is realized as CFSJ inspires generosity, manages and deploys permanent charitable assets, and exercises collaborative leadership to create a more equitable region.
CFSJ works with South Jersey philanthropists, local nonprofits, and neighbors to build capital, contribute assets, and create permanent endowments for impact in perpetuity.
By aligning donor interests and using the investment earnings on each of its endowed funds, CFSJ makes grants and builds leadership within the community to create thriving, equitable, and livable communities for all. Currently, CFSJ manages assets of more than $30 million.
Alongside its fund holders, CFSJ has issued more than $10 million in nonprofit grants and scholarships.
Learn more about CFSJ at CommunityFoundationSJ.org.