The Indianapolis-based Youth Opportunity Foundation (YOF) is growing and expanding its programs, both geographically and in the types of services offered. YOF was incorporated in 2017 in Indiana as a regional organization focused on services for post-adjudicated juveniles in four states. Now, the organization is set to facilitate programs in ten (10) states and is broadening its scope to include prevention programs to help kids avoid involvement in the juvenile justice system.
YOF was founded to address the most pressing issues facing youth involved in the juvenile justice system. Currently the juvenile justice system, nationwide, processes 800,000+ arrests each year from which 60% of kids released from residential treatment programs recidivate within one year. This leads to post-adjudicated adults who are under-educated, unskilled, and facing a lifetime of employment challenges. To assist in the community re-entry process, YOF has provided mentorship programs, vocational training leading to industry-approved work certificates, and post-secondary education scholarships.
To further compound an increasingly hostile environment confronting our kids, on any given day in the US, there are more than 20 million (one in every four!) abused, neglected, homeless, trafficked, or otherwise traumatized children. With challenges like these, prevention programs to keep children and teens out of the justice system seem more important than ever.
To assist in addressing these issues, YOF is expanding its services to include preventive programming. To accomplish this goal, YOF has:
- established an advisory council of recognized experts to direct YOF efforts to address issues and improve support for causes confronting vulnerable children, and
- collaborated with like-minded organizations to provide programming and support within the community before a lack of options enables a poor choice.
“We target vulnerable teens because, without a fighting chance at success, they are doomed to a life of missed opportunity characterized by poverty, crime, and incarceration,” said Denny Armington, President of the Youth Opportunity Foundation. “By addressing causes, and not simply the effects, we are improving long-term outcomes for young people, their families, and our communities.”