Youth Outreach adheres to a positive, youth-centered development approach. We believe the community as a whole benefits by building on the youths’ assets and their potential, helping to counter the problems that may affect them. Over the last ten years or so we have become fully convinced that when a youth program seriously adopts a positive youth development approach, the young people they serve become independent and engaged citizens and a lot more fun to be around!
Youth Outreach has a fully functioning Youth Advisory Council (YAC). The Youth Advisory Council consists of 15-20 diversified middle, high school youth to age 21, representing a number of communities in our county. Former runaways, homeless & street youth, culturally and racially diverse youth, gifted and below-average academically achieving youth, and representatives of every socio-economic levels of the community are members of YAC.
The Youth Advisory Board was initially formed with the goal of receiving crucial input in our program development and start-up, but grew to the beginnings of a group that could be a “living” function in the further development, operation and evaluation of a program. Today, YAC assists in community education – members recently speaking on behalf Youth Outreach to a variety of community groups – advocacy; in the development, operations, and evaluation of our “Drop-In” Center; fundraising, peer mentoring; planning activities, and local community service projects.
YAC members meet at the “Drop-In” Center in Newberg, the 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month for planning meetings where dinner is provided. They are required to participate in the following: Youth Leadership Training, using the “Best Practices” curricula “Leadership 101” (6 hrs per quarter); Volunteerism at the “Drop-In” Center or in Street Outreach (2 hrs per week); and Community Service Projects (6 hours per quarter). We are excited about the development of our Youth Advisory Council and the commitment we see from the youth involved. It has become a youth leadership model to other service agencies, schools, and organizations throughout Yamhill County.