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ION Bank gives $3,000 to support Urgent Client Needs for Homeless Youth

ION Bank Foundation Awards WYS $3000 for Urgent Client Needs for Homeless Youth

Population Served:  Low-income, at-risk youth ages 6-24.

Program: Homeless Youth Resource Center/Youth & Family Emergency Services (YFES)

Location of Population Served:  Greater Waterbury area.

Funds will support Urgent Client Needs for YFES Program, incling: bus passes for school/work/interviews, security deposits for housing, personal hygiene supplies, school training, and work supplies.

About YFES: Primary objective is to provide immediate crisis intervention and counseling services for Waterbury’s most at risk youth with the goals of decreasing the number ofyouth who run away, decreasing youth homeless population, provide SAFE PLACE sites around the community where youth can go to connect with needed services and decreasing need for DCF involvement.

No one can move on to a better lifestyle if they are constantly hungry, do not have the right clothes for an interview, have no money for transportation, no home for themselves  or for their children, etc. Urgent Client Needs is critical to the success of the YFES program.

Prom Project Boutique

Prom Project Sign Up

Waterbury Youth Services’ Prom Project Boutique: More Than Just A Dress

Celebrating 21 Years of Making Dreams Come True
The Prom Project Boutique
83 Prospect St., Waterbury
Thursday, April 18th,  10am-2pm

This event is free and open to  any high school teen in need of prom attire.

Prom season is almost here.  To make that day as special as possible, Waterbury Youth Services wants offers free prom gowns, shoes, suits and accessories.

“Our Prom Project Boutique program is more than just giving away gowns and accessories,” says Deanna Krzykowksi, WYS’ Prom Project Leader. We empower teens and build their confidence by taking away the financial barriers to participate in this iconic high school experience.”

WYS’s Prom Project Boutique is bursting at the seams with beautiful dresses and suits of all designs and sizes.  All of WYS’ prom attire and accessories will be offered free of charge thanks to the generous donations of formal ware from local bridal shops, businesses and individuals in the community. WYS’ boutique like atmosphere will be set up with personal shoppers and mirrors to assist students in picking their dresses and suits. WYS will also have a vendor area complete with shoes, accessories, and hair and make-up tips.

There are a limited number of registrations available for April 18th. Interested teens can sign up here.

For teens unable to attend the April 18th event, WYS will offer the following Prom Project Boutique hours:

April 22- May 20
Mondays 2:30pm-4:30pm
Tuesdays 3:00pm-5pm.

This is the second year all students (not just girls) are invited to participate in Prom Project Boutique.  WYS was the first organization to host a Prom Project event in the Greater Waterbury  area in 1998.  Since then, WYS has served thousands of teens, ensuring they don’t miss out on high school’s most formal dance.

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Prom Project Sign Up

Jewish Federation of Western Connecticut Supports Truancy Program

Jewish Federation of Western Connecticut Awards WYS $7500 for Truancy Prevention and Counseling Program

Population Served:  Waterbury youth attending public Elementary, Middle and High School students from all ethnic backgrounds, both male and female, serving the most vulnerable at-risk, low-income population.
Location of Population Served: Greater Waterbury Area.

Truancy is a critical issue in Waterbury’s public schools. Bridge to Success, a community collaborative operating within Waterbury, found that only 67% of Waterbury youth graduate from High School on time compared to 86% across the remainder of Connecticut. In addition, Waterbury has the fifth highest drop-out rate (about 30%) in the state.

WYS’s Truancy Prevention and Counseling Program meets an urgent community need by addressing the reasons for absenteeism and helping youth and their families address the barriers keeping them from regular school attendance, thereby increasing the chance of successful graduation from high school and a chance at becoming solid members of their communities.

The WYS program conducts an initial assessment with the family immediately after receipt of the referral. This takes place in either the family’s home or in the WYS office at a time that is convenient for the family and all pertinent forms/HIPPA are signed at this time. Barriers to school attendance are explored and the family is provided case management to address these barriers through specific steps. A step could be as simple as reminders to parents to set the alarm clock regularly, or to make sure the youth gets to bed by 10:00 p.m. each night, or as complex as identifying and working with issues such as peer pressure and bullying. Case management also includes monitoring the student’s attendance and school performance while maintaining contact with the family, school and other providers, connecting the family with needed services, communicating with school personnel and other involved collateral contacts, attending meetings at school when indicated, and monitoring attendance and the need for more case management. The referral source and school personnel are kept up to date on the youth’s progress in the program and referrals that have been made for the family.

Truanc referrals made by: Waterbury Schools
Program: September 1st through June 30th. May include summer activities. Services are provided Monday through Friday for home and office visits and also utilizes non-traditional hours.

2017/18 Annual Report

Download WYS 2017/18 Annual Report (published 2/2019)

It has been a challenging year but because of your support, our amazing staff and their perseverance to overcome any challenge given them, Waterbury Youth Services continues to thrive with enthusiasm, impacting youth and families in a positive way. Everyone in the organization works tirelessly each day to create a safe and cheerful environment to those in need, offering various opportunities under the 22 programs we provide. Our After School Linking Academics to Life, Juvenile Justice Programs, helping with homelessness and child abuse, Work Force Innovations, support services for parents and various mentoring programs are just to name a few ways we create brighter futures for our youth and families.

The Board and the organization leadership continue to raise the bar for improving how we do business. We are completing a Strategic Plan effort designed to set realistic and achievable goals for the organization as we look forward. Our focus is to strengthen how we can make the most impact to those who we serve, while being good stewards fiscally with each dollar our donors and funders entrust us with to make the most impact.

Funding of our programs requires fiscal discipline, hard work to secure grants in a very competitive environment, and an increased focus on individual and corporate giving. We can proudly report the organization is sound financially due to the Board of Directors and Executive Team’s fiscal foresight to take control. Our 2018 annual audit again showed positive financial wellness.

Connecticut State budget issues still are real and deep and these uncertain times challenge us each day. So if you are an existing donor, or wish to give for the first time, please visit our website, follow us on Facebook or call to make a donation. There are so many ways your support will help the youth in the community.

The contributions made by donors and volunteers are essential to our mission and we thank you for your generosity. Giving to Waterbury Youth Services offers everyone we serve hope, a meal, a safe place to receive help, skills to secure a job, and a chance for a brighter future.

I enthusiastically thank the Board, all of our donors, volunteers and staff for their unconditional support. It’s only with your help that can we make a positive impact on the lives of many, one life at a time.

Mark E. Lancor
President
2018 Download WYS 2017/18 Annual Report (published 2/2019)

Mark E. Lancor

Join Waterbury Youth Council on Feb. 27

Youth councils are an effective way to get youth involved in solving local problems and more actively engaged in the community.  Join Waterbury Youth Council and find your voice through organizing, advocacy and community leadership. All high school age youth are welcome.

First meeting will be held February 27, 2019 and cover:

  • Networking with other students
  • Council Projects & Goals

Swipe Right Night March 12

We invite students ages 9-17 and their families to "Swipe Right Night": A Youth Programs Open House on Tuesday, March 12 from 4-pm at 83 Prospect St., Waterbury.

Jointly hosted by Waterbury  Youth Services' staf and member students, this event is the perfect opportunity to learn more about the agenc's free after-school programs.  Youth will have 15 minutes to observe each program. If they like what they see, they can stay for the duration of the class. If they don’t, they can “swipe right” and move down the hall to observe the next after-school program in session.

Enrollment is free and open for “Linking Academics to Life (LAL)” and “Girls Who Code” for high school students.

  • Linking Academics to Life: College, career and life-readiness after school program for high school teens.
  • Girls Who Code: Based on the nationally acclaimed Girls Who Code program, this new after-school club for high school girls is aimed at closing the gender gap in Information Technology (IT).
  • 4-H Mentoring: This is a year long prevention program for youth ages 9-13 designed to assist them in acquiring knowledge, building character, and developing life skills in a fun learning environment. Program activities: dance, creative arts, karate.

Free refreshments, food, and prizes.  For more information or to RSVP, contact Marianne Malanaphy at 203-573-0264 x320.

Student Spotlight-2018

Student Spotlight

"I’ve been in foster care all my life. The statistics say that when you aren’t raised with your parents, you won’t be as exceptional as everyone else. They also predicted that I would end up pregnant by age 16, on drugs or in jail. I wasn’t supposed to be the success story that I am.

"I enrolled in Waterbury Youth Service’s 'Career Builders in Health' Program to earn my CNA certification so that I can help people who are sick. My mom is sick, my father was sick and passed away, my grandmother too. If there’s a way for me to help other sick people, I want to do it.

"By becoming a CNA, I will show that statistics are just numbers. They don’t define you unless you let them. Some days, class is really challenging. You have to put in a lot of extra effort. But I think of everything I want to achieve for myself and the people I can help and I know I GOT THIS!"

Casandra Nazario, Student in WYS's new "Career Builders in Health" program.

Winter Cloth Drive-2018

Homeless Youth Winter Clothing Drive

In the fall and winter months, many of the kids who come to our Homeless Youth Resource Center don't have basic winter protection, including coats, hats, gloves, scarves and mittens. We always try to have extra supplies on hand for them to take, but we are completely out of winter gear. If you can donate new or gently used winter clothing--or wish to organize a drive in your community--please contact Marianne Malanaphy at WYS at 203-573-0264.

Ages:
Youth 13-24 When to organize a drive:
Now through the end of December Ways to organize a drive:
Share our flyer with your social networks and ask friends/family to donate winter gear directly to us or you

Approach your church, club or civic group to which you belong and ask if they'll host a drive

How to get the donations to Waterbury Youth Services:
Contact Marianne Malanaphy at WYS at 203-573-0264 to arrange drop-off or pick up.
Juvenile Review Board-2018

Emergency Stop Gap Measure Saves Program

Thirty five Juvenile Review Board (JRB) programs across the state including Waterbury Youth Services Inc.’s were in danger of potentially shutting down after the Connecticut General Assembly neglected to allocate funds for JRBs in its 2019 budget adjustments last May. But an emergency stop gap measure issued by the State of Connecticut Office of Policy and Management (OPM) gives a 12 month lifeline to eligible JRBs, including WYS's. The State's program provides one year grants to assist local municipalities in supporting JRBs that were previously funded through state appropriated dollars provided by the Department of Children and Families (DCF). In order for Waterbury Youth Services (WYS) to be awarded funds, the Waterbury Board of Alderman had to pass a motion that would allow the City to enter into contract with OPM, which they did on September 10th. WYS is now scheduled to receive $154,442 to fund its JRB program through August 31, 2019. Juvenile Review Board (JRB) programs have been used widely and successfully for more than a decade across the state to keep youth with low-level misdemeanor offenses from entering the juvenile justice system. JRBs offer a community-based alternative to deal with school, family and minor criminal incidents so that no child enters the juvenile justice system without having exhausted appropriate community resources. JRBs give youth the chance to learn from their mistakes and tools to make better choices in the future by connecting them and their families to support programs. “This funding will provide the opportunity to keep 150-200 youth who committed misdemeanor offenses from entering the juvenile justice system” says Kathi M. Crowe, Waterbury Youth Services Inc.’s Executive Director. “It will help us sustain our current five JRB panels as well as expand to a sixth truancy-specific panel that will address the chronically absent and truant students through a non-judicial path.” In a typical year, Waterbury Youth Services Inc.’s JRB deals with 150-200 cases. Last year, 96% of the youth who went through their program were not re-arrested. Waterbury Youth Services Inc.’s JRB consists of a Program Manager, two Case Managers and is largely supported by volunteers who have experience in child development, education, adolescent behavior, family dynamics, youth development, and/or juvenile laws and procedures. The value of JRBs can not be overstated. “The JRB program at WYS offers a great service to these children, offering them an opportunity to reflect on their past behavior; identify what their individualized needs are and work with the staff and volunteers, through the JRB, to move forward in a productive manner,” says Diane E. Haggis, Ed. D, who has volunteered for three and a half years on Waterbury Youth Services Inc.’s JRB. “As a long-standing member on two separate JRB teams within Waterbury Youth Services, I am honored to be a part of the comprehensive service that is provided to our youth.” The JRB can require students to undertake counseling, conflict resolution classes, therapy, substance abuse services, mentoring, tutoring assistance, or a variety of other programs. The Board can also recommend that students write essays or letters of apology, or perform community service. Cases are referring to Waterbury Youth Services by City Police, Schools, Court, DCF, as well as other sources. Youth must remain in WYS’ JRB program for six months. “We’re relieved that OPM came up with a solution for funding JRBs for the next twelve months and grateful to the City for approving the grant award,” says Ms. Crowe.  “Our JRB excels at getting to the bottom of why the youth did what they did in the first place then connecting them with the support services they need to address these problems. We value our youth and WYS’s JRB gives them a chance to succeed in the future.” >Click here to learn more about Waterbury Youth Services Inc. Juvenile Review Board Program
Summer Camp-Kids-2018

New IT After School Program to Close the Gender Gap in Technology

Waterbury Youth Services, Inc. has been awarded a $7,357 grant from the Women’s Giving Circle at Connecticut Community Foundation to launch an after-school IT club based on the nationally acclaimed Girls Who Code program for high school students. Information technology (IT) is a booming sector of the economy. All professions, including traditionally female professions in health and education, are being reimagined through technology. Those with IT abilities will enjoy a distinct advantage in the job market. But girls are lagging behind. Nationally, computer programming classes attract 20% of the boys but fewer than 10% of girls. And while 20% of male college freshmen intend to major in computer science, only 4% of females do (source: National Center for Women & Information Technology). According to WYS Executive Director Kathi M. Crowe, “Girls comprise a small minority of Waterbury high school students learning IT. We want to help correct that imbalance. By encouraging more girls – especially those living in homes below the poverty line – to take advantage of IT education and giving them easy access to it, we will increase their prospects for future economic success.” Enrollment is now open for WYS’ Girls Who Code program, which will begin October 5, 2018. Over the course of 35 weeks, club members will learn computer software on Fridays from 3:00 - 4:30 p.m. in the Computer Lab of WYS, located at 83 Prospect Street, Waterbury. In addition to learning code, club members will participate in field trips, team projects, and hear from multiple guest speakers in IT. Graduates will demonstrate mastery of beginner coding through their ability to complete the curriculum, and to develop, as a team, a project such as a website, app, or game. Club members will submit their project to Girls Who Code, Inc. which publishes top projects on its website. Girls Who Code clubs are in all fifty states and have served 90,000+ girls. Girls Who Code teaches soft and hard skills including teamwork, confidence, and communication; along with the concepts of functions, variables, conditionals, and loops that form the basis of all programming languages. For more information, visit GirlsWhoCode.com The Women’s Giving Circle at Connecticut Community Foundation is a diverse group of community-minded people who want to improve and enrich the lives of women and girls in Greater Waterbury and the Litchfield Hills. For more information, contact Heidi Green, Director of Development at Connecticut Community Foundation 203.753.1315, x113. Waterbury Youth Services, Inc. is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit charity serving 1,000 youth and their families each year through 22 programs including: Juvenile Justice, Mentoring, Truancy Prevention, Homeless Youth Resource Center, Youth & Family Emergency Services, Afterschool Programs, and Child Abuse Interdisciplinary Team.

>>Click here for more information on this program

Career Builders In Health CNA-2018

Jump Start Careers in Health Care for Young People

Waterbury Youth Services has been awarded a $81,533.51 grant from the Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board to launch Career Builders in Health” to train, certify, and place young adults ages 16 to 24 into Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) jobs, followed by supports that help participants pursue a post- secondary education. “The health professions are a major growth sector of the economy,” says Waterbury Youth Services’ Executive Director Kathi M. Crowe. “The demand for Certified Nursing Assistants continues to rise. At the same time, successful CNAs are well-positioned to further their educations and become Physical Therapy Assistants, Nurses, Paramedics, Pharmacy Technicians, and other health professionals with associate degrees.” After job placement, Career Builders in Health will provide mentoring and peer support to enhance on-the-job performance. Additional workshops and personal counseling will guide participants toward a two-year medical training program of their choice. “The Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board promotes business growth and economic opportunity by expediting talent matching and provides access to training programs that address skill gaps,” says Catherine N. Awwad, Executive Director of Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board. “We’re excited to partner with Waterbury Youth Services on this new initiative that is designed to encourage participants to use their CNA experience as a stepping stone to further job opportunities in the health field.” Waterbury Adult Education will be a leading partner in this program. Their curriculum will incorporate classroom learning with clinical experience in a local nursing home WYS has begun the recruitment phase of Career-Builders in Health, which is completely free of charge to eligible participants. To qualify, young adults must be 16 to 24 years old, not enrolled in an educational program and unemployed or underemployed in minimum-wage jobs. Update: Program slots have been filled

>>Click here for more information on this program

CHEFA Grant 2018-Doubles Impact on After School Programs

Doubling the Impact on After School Programs for Teens through CHEFA Grant

Waterbury Youth Services has been awarded a $41,394 grant from Connecticut Health & Education Facilities Authority (CHEFA) to double the size of its after-school program for high school students, Linking Academics to Life, for the 2018/2019 school year. Linking Academics to Life (LAL) is a free afterschool program that helps students excel in academics while learning critical time management and life skills. The program runs Monday-Thursday from 3pm-5pm and students can choose to enroll in one of four focus areas: Journalism, Entrepreneurial Program, Woodworking, or Senior Preparation. Tutoring and homework assistance is offered every day. “Each year, we have a long wait list of students trying to get into our LAL program,” says Waterbury Youth Services’ Executive Director Kathi M. Crowe. “This CHEFA grant will allow us to nearly double the capacity of our LAL program. The impact will be far reaching and life changing, as in recent years, 100% of LAL seniors get into college, according to Crowe. “CHEFA is pleased to support Waterbury Youth Services’ after school program for high school students. The Linking Academics to Life Program prepares students and their families with college and career planning and valuable life skills, providing opportunities as they move to the next stage of their lives” said Jeanette Weldon, Executive Director for CHEFA. Students in the LAL program must attend school daily in order to participate and maintain a minimum C grade point average. If they fall below a C, the program provides individual tutoring. In addition to the four focus areas and tutoring components, LAL youth participate in themed celebrations, college tours, financial literacy workshops, community service, and other activities. Monthly "Family Nights" educate parents on the school system and college application process, and encourage parent participation in the LAL program. Youth are also offered monthly stipends dependent on school and program attendance and academic achievement. This serves as an additional motivator and way to increase school performance. It also allows youth who might otherwise have to work after school to participate in the program and focus on their academics. The LAL focus areas offer experience that can translate into valuable employment skills. For more information, contact Kathi Crowe at 203-573-0264 x 301.