This new initiative of the Vermont Department for Children and Families will focus on building support systems for youth transitioning to independence in communities in the Northeast Kingdom. The YouthFactor NEK demonstration project will partner with the Northeast Kingdom Community Action/Community Action Youth Services agency in Newport.
The five-year demonstration project is being coordinated by North East Kingdom Community Action, Youth Services and Vermont Department for Children and Families with support from the Vermont Coalition of Runaway and Homeless Youth Programs, and is funded by the Family and Youth Services Bureau of the US Administration for Children and Families through 2014.
Local partners joining the effort will focus on three vital areas: stabilizing youth in housing and providing health care and mental health services; linking young people with youth-adult partnerships, mentoring and positive youth development activities; and creating educational and employment opportunities that lead to high school completion, job training and livable wage jobs for young people.
The federal grant, which focuses on developing solutions to the problems of older youth in rural communities, was awarded to only three states in 2009. Model practices and approaches developed by public, private and state agencies in this community are being coordinated at the state agency level to support replication in other communities in Vermont through policy, program, and funding initiatives. By integrating evaluation measures for the grant project with existing measures for related services for transition aged youth, these results will broaden our understanding of the impact of the project and support further replication in Vermont and other states.
In addition to emphasizing effective state/local collaboration and viewing local partners as 'learning communities,' the demonstration project will emphasize youth involvement and leadership. Young people themselves will play a significant role in creating solutions in the Northeast Kingdom and will work in partnership with adults to create lasting opportunities for meaningful engagement in community life.
Aaron Benson, YouthFactor NEK Cooridnator, email@example.com
Kathy Metras, Youth Services Dept. Manager firstname.lastname@example.org