The Beat: Starting and Managing a Youth Program

February 13, 2013

Photograph of a young African American woman with young people training at computers behind her.Having the time to take a hard look at how you do things may seem like a luxury at youth-serving organizations. But a San Francisco foundation is trying to change that for a handful of nonprofits that serve runaway and homeless youth.

The John Burton Foundation’s Homeless Youth Capacity Building Project launched its yearlong Performance Management Training Series in 2011 with a cohort of seven programs serving counties with the highest rates of youth homelessness in southern California. The groups received professional development for staff, and training and coaching on the performance management approach to improving program quality. They also got $1,500 to spend on training,...

February 04, 2013

In our latest podcast, we hear from Bill Martin, executive director of Waterford Country School, a Connecticut youth shelter that will soon finish the three-year implementation of the CARE Model. He talks about how this evidence-based practice enables Waterford to better serve youth.
Listen to the podcast.

January 31, 2013

Images of social media logos, with a bucket of coins pouring over them.Five values. Five weeks of giving. That’s how Volunteers of America Chesapeake, a human services agency whose work stretches from Baltimore, MD, to Virginia Beach, conceives its year-end giving campaign each December. Each week, the campaign focuses on one of VOA Chesapeake’s core values—caring, quality, trust, faith and respect—and highlights the successes of the organization’s many programs and experts, says communication specialist Danielle Milner.

This past year, the campaign brought in $188,000, nearly two-thirds more than the previous December. Though traditional direct mail and face-to-face marketing played a role, the results wouldn’t have been possible without social media...

January 24, 2013

At the 2012 Pathways to Adulthood conference in New Orleans, NCFY interviewed youth workers from all over the country to get their perspective on two questions: "What's your community doing to fight youth homelessness?" And, "What help do you need to keep fighting youth homelessness?"

Today we're proud to share five of those responses in a new video series. From rural towns to big cities, these are on-the-ground views of the reality of youth homelessness and the best efforts against it. We hope these videos will spur a discussion, so join us on Facebook and Twitter to tell us your own perspective: What is your community doing, and what does your community need to fight youth homelessness?

The series starts with Jeff Allen from Youth and Family Services in Watonga...

January 24, 2013

If you consider your smartphone more of a mini computer than a way to make calls, you’re part of a national trend. Forty-nine percent of all U.S. adults go online using their cell phones, according to research from the Pew Internet & American Life Project. The percentage is probably even higher among young people, according to Nam-ho Park, director of mobile services at digital communications firm Forum One.Photograph of a young woman sitting outdoors and looking at her smart phone.

“This is a generation that hasn’t lived in an age where they didn’t have cell phones,” Park says. “It’s just a natural part of their lives that they communicate with each other and especially with organizations through mobile technology.”

What does all that mean for...

January 17, 2013

Photograph of a young woman doing research on her laptop computer while talking on the phone.The federal government, including the Family and Youth Services Bureau, continues to encourage the use of evidence-based practices in social services programming. If you’re looking for practices and programs to use in your organization, research is a key first step.

To get you started, we’re listing some online databases and guides that highlight youth-serving programs researchers have deemed effective. You’ll want to read about each resource more carefully to learn about the criteria it uses to decide whether or not to include an intervention.

January 16, 2013

Photograph of a chef instructing an apprentice chef.As executive director of Worth Our Weight, a nonprofit culinary arts apprenticeship program in Santa Rosa, CA, Evelyn Cheatham has taught over 100 at-risk young people the skills to cook and manage a restaurant. Youth in the program plunge right in to the food service world. In addition to taking cooking classes and doing skills-building exercises, they cook and serve meals to paying customers every day at Café WOW.

That immersion has led to more than a job for at least one graduate. Last fall, an alumnus of the 7-year-old program invited Cheatham her to bring WOW’s current class of thirteen apprentices to visit the restaurant he now owns....

January 09, 2013

CARE: Children and Residential Experiences, Image shows an adult hand reaching down to take a child's hand.The Epworth Children’s Home in Columbia, SC, has housed at-risk youth since 1895. The home’s long history, and the traditions that go along with it, are a point of pride. But as the organization’s centennial passed, Epworth’s leaders felt they needed a more cohesive approach to working with youth.

“We had an eclectic model,” Executive Director Lee Porter says, “which really means we didn’t have a model at all. We had nothing to tie our practices together and move us forward.”

In other words, the time had come to modernize Epworth’s youth work practices.


January 08, 2013

Family and Youth Services BureauDo you have expertise in teen pregnancy prevention? Show it off at the Second Annual Teen Pregnancy Prevention Grantee Conference sponsored by the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Family and Youth Services Bureau. The call for abstracts deadline has been extended to this Friday, January 11, 2013.

This year's conference theme is “Putting Knowledge to Use: Sharing Diverse Practices to Improve Teen Pregnancy Prevention Outcomes.” The conference will be held May 29-31, 2013, at the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel in Maryland.

The conference organizers are looking for abstracts for interactive and engaging 90-minute breakout sessions in four learning tracks:

1) Evaluation/Data...

December 20, 2012

Image of a hand giving the thumbs-up gesture.As 2012 winds down, we want to take a moment to thank you for visiting the NCFY website. We enjoy sharing bright ideas from the youth-services field, explaining new research on evidence-based practices, and bringing you news of funding opportunities and fundraising tips.

Here are the pages and articles you visited most this year:

Most visited NCFY Web pages

  1. Home page
  2. Guide to Starting and Managing a Youth Program
  3. Funding
  4. Tools
  5. Positive Youth Development page...

National Clearinghouse on Families & Youth | 5515 Security Lane, Suite 800 | North Bethesda, MD 20852 | (301) 608-8098 |