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Women of Excellence Breakfast raises more than $110,000 for Youth Villages-Germaine Lawrence Campus programs

October 16, 2014

Learn about some of our success stories in the Women of Excellence Breakfast program video.

Our 13th annual Women of Excellence Breakfast raised more than $110,000 to support the work the Youth Villages-Germaine Lawrence Campus is doing to help adolescent girls. More than $23,000 of the event’s proceeds was pledged to support our campus’ beyond-the-classroom programming, which helps girls build confidence, develop new skills and find joy in learning.

Click on the photo to see a gallery from the event.

Click on the photo to see a gallery from the event.

Three hundred guests joined Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley at the Sheraton Boston Hotel Oct. 9, 2014, to help Youth Villages recognize four inspirational women who make a difference in the lives of girls through their professional, volunteer or advocacy efforts.

We’re grateful to Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley for helping us recognize the 2014 Youth Villages Women of Excellence honorees for their important work advancing the lives of girls across Massachusetts: Linda M. Driscoll, Jacquelyn Lamont, Queenette Santos and Stephanie Guirand.

We’d also like to say a special thanks to Krysta, age 18, who so eloquently shared her story with us and how the Germaine Lawrence Campus helped her on her path to success.

If you weren’t able to attend, please take a few moments to read Krysta’s story below and view event photos in this online gallery.

It’s not too late to contribute and make a difference for the girls receiving help at the Youth Villages-Germaine Lawrence Campus.


Learn more about our event’s honorees:
Read more…

Cornhole tournament helps Youth Villages kids in the Triangle

October 10, 2014
Kristie (center), a young lady receiving help from Youth Villages, is joined by Shawn Olender and Jesica Averhart from cornhole tournament presenting sponsor American Tobacco.

Kristie (center), a young lady receiving help from Youth Villages, is joined by Shawn Olender and Jesica Averhart from cornhole tournament presenting sponsor American Tobacco.

More than 100 guests gathered on September 25 at the American Tobacco Campus in Durham to participate in Youth Villages’ Cornhole Tournament, presented by American Tobacco. The community response was tremendous, as the second-year event raised $13,085.

One-hundred percent of proceeds from the cornhole tournament will allow troubled youth in the Triangle, who are receiving services from Youth Villages, the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities they otherwise would be unable to afford, such as summer camps, after-school programs and sports.

Thank you to our sponsors:


Karl Thor of Eye d’Neau performs live music at the cornhole tournament.

Karl Thor of Eye d’Neau performs live music at the cornhole tournament.

Winners of the cornhole tournament take home trophies designed by Youth Villages children.

Winners of the cornhole tournament take home trophies designed by Youth Villages children.

See the Flickr gallery for more photos from the event, and don’t miss the video on Youtube.

Youth Villages expands to Oklahoma; Tulsa native leads intensive in-home program

October 9, 2014

Youth Villages, a provider of children’s mental and behavioral health services, has begun helping children and families in Oklahoma after opening an office in Tulsa Oct. 1.


Youth Villages Oklahoma will provide the Intercept intensive in-home services program to 40 children and families in Tulsa through a partnership with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services and the George Kaiser Family Foundation. Funding for the start-up of the Tulsa office is being provided by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation.

“We are excited about this new and innovative partnership between the George Kaiser Family Foundation, DHS and Youth Villages,” said DHS Director Ed Lake. “This is another opportunity to bring a nationally recognized agency with a proven program to Oklahoma to support our efforts in creating a comprehensive and effective child welfare system.”

Jessica Moore, a Tulsa native and resident, will lead the new office as regional supervisor. At Youth Villages, Moore has worked from locations in Dallas, Texas and Memphis, Tenn., as a family intervention specialist, residential counselor and clinical consultant. She is a licensed professional counselor. The Youth Villages Tulsa office will employ about 12 staff members; most will be family intervention specialists working with families of troubled children in their own homes an average of three times a week. Youth Villages’ staff is available 24/7 to the children and families they help, working around families’ schedules, meeting them before work or in the evening, when the whole family is together.

“I’m so excited to be helping my home community, the community where I live and grew up,” Moore said. “Youth Villages will be introducing intensive home- and family-based services designed to strengthen families and provide them with the tools and skills they need to parent children with emotional, behavioral and mental health issues effectively and to prevent or reduce the time a child spends out of the home for treatment.”

Moore grew up in Tulsa, graduating from Nathan Hale High School before earning a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Missouri Valley College and a master’s degree in Christian counseling from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Moore and her husband, Jamie, have two children, Bailey Grace and Caden James. Jamie Moore is pastor of Sequoyah Hills Baptist Church in Tulsa.

Founded in 1986, Youth Villages’ mission is to help emotionally and behaviorally troubled children and their families live successfully. This year, Youth Villages will help more than 22,000 children from 20 states and the District of Columbia through a wide array of programs, including intensive in-home services, residential treatment, foster care and adoption, transitional living services, mentoring and crisis services. The organization calls its approach Evidentiary Family Restoration, which focuses on providing intensive help to both the child and family in the home and offering measurable positive outcomes and accountability to both families and funders.

Youth Villages’ focus on strengthening families consistently produces an 80 percent success rate of children living successfully at home even two years after completing a Youth Villages program. Youth Villages has been recognized by Harvard Business School and U.S. News & World Report, and was identified by The White House as one of the nation’s most promising results-oriented nonprofit organizations. For more information about Youth Villages, visit

About the George Kaiser Family Foundation
GKFF is a charitable organization based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, dedicated to providing equal opportunity for young children in the community through investments in early childhood education, community health, social services and civic enhancement. Founded in 1999, the foundation invests heavily in expanding the availability of high-quality, early childhood education for low-income children in Tulsa County. GKFF also supports numerous health and human service organizations in the Tulsa area to reinforce its anti-poverty efforts. In addition, GKFF supports and develops projects in community health, female incarceration, civic enhancement and beautification in the City of Tulsa and participates in many other community initiatives. GKFF is a supporting organization of the Tulsa Community Foundation. As a supporting organization, GKFF has a stated mission of engaging in charitable activities that are consistent with the purpose of TCF. For more information about the George Kaiser Family Foundation, visit

About the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation
The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation is a global organization that seeks to ignite the passion and unleash the power in young people to create positive change for themselves, the Jewish community and the broader world. Schusterman pursues its mission by working collaboratively with others to support and operate high-quality education, identity development, leadership training and service programs designed to help young people cultivate their growth as individuals and as leaders.

New book by renowned journalists recognizes Youth Villages’ work

September 24, 2014

Youth Villages is highlighted as a model organization in the new book “A Path Appears” by renowned journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.

Kristof, columnist for The New York Times since 2001 and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, co-wrote the book with his wife WuDunn after years of dedicated journalism by the two focusing on human rights issues in the developing world. They have covered countless global problems with a concentration on Darfur since 2004.

A Path Appears

In the book, they show how individuals, foundations and nonprofit organizations can make a significant difference in solving societal problems, identifying successful local, national and global initiatives.

Youth Villages is one of the organizations recognized. In a chapter titled “Coaching Troubled Teens,” Kristof and WuDunn identify Youth Villages’ intensive in-home services that help troubled youth live successfully as an effective approach.

“YV argues that with the right support and scrutiny, half of the 600,000 kids in America being raised in effect by the state (including foster care) could remain with their families or relatives, saving tens of millions of dollars annually and reducing the trauma and upheaval for those children,” they write.

The book features the story of Fred Burns, a Mississippi native who was helped by several Youth Villages programs and now participates in Youth Villages’ transitional living program.

“With this new stability in his life, Fred began to excel in sports and academics. He became the first member of his immediate family to graduate from high school, and he did it in style: he was valedictorian, with a 4.25 GPA. Fred accepted an academic scholarship to Mississippi State University, was successful as a walk-on to the football team, and later transferred to Jackson State University to major in computer engineering.”

Kristof and WuDunn’s book tour began Sept. 23 in New York City and will end Nov. 18 in Miami. “A Path Appears” will also be the basis of a four-hour PBS series as a special presentation of “Independent Lens” airing in early 2015.

Youth Villages supporters provide backpacks and supplies for more than 300 children in New England

September 12, 2014



Thanks to the generosity of donors and volunteers, Youth Villages 5th Annual Back to School Initiative was a success!

Youth Villages was able to distribute backpacks filled with new school supplies to more than 300 children to our neediest families across New England. We couldn’t have done this without this tremendous support!

Many families were impacted by this initiative and Deborah Gagne, a Youth Villages family intervention specialist, had the opportunity to see this first-hand. Please read about her experience below and also check out a gallery featuring thank-you notes from some of the children and photos from corporate partners and our Backpack Shindig fundraising event.

This was my first time witnessing a family that received backpacks from YV. Mom was not sure where she was going to get the money for school supplies this year, but she was totally thrilled when I arrived, not only with school supplies, but with a new outfit for her children. The elementary-aged girls were all smiles when they saw the backpacks, but when they opened them they actually squealed with delight. Each child pulled out the items one-by-one and examined it excitedly. When they pulled out their clothing they actually danced around. They tried their shoes on immediately and there were “Thank You”’s and smiles all around. Mom was so relieved and the girls were excited to start school. The family was so appreciative and thanks YV — and so do I for letting me experience that family’s happiness for such a generous gesture.

King of Harts clothing by Melissa Joan Hart to benefit Youth Villages

August 25, 2014

King of HartsYouth Villages is grateful and honored that Melissa Joan Hart chose us as the charitable partner for her new boys clothing line, King of Harts. Proceeds from the collection’s Louie Tee will support Youth Villages programs.

Hart, star of the television show Melissa & Joey, recently launched King of Harts with her husband, Mark Wilkerson. Proud parents of three young sons, the pair were inspired to create a line of “cool, durable and quality boys clothes.” Hart was the child star of Clarissa Explains It All and teen star of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.

Check out Hart’s new line here, stock up on great clothing for the boys in your life, and pick up a Louie Tee that supports Youth Villages.

Time In with Dr. Tim: Robin Williams’ tragic death can spark needed conversations

August 22, 2014

They knew him as the genie in Aladdin, from the adventure Jumanji or the Night at the Museum movies. It may be disturbing to children to see that Robin Williams — someone they admired, who seemed to have everything — wasn’t able to resolve his issues in a positive way. But his tragic death may help us talk to our children about mental illness and how people can get the help they need.

It’s another opportunity to remind us to pay attention to our children’s behavior and look for signs that may indicate depression, anxiety or other serious, but treatable, mental health problems.

Remember that the symptoms of dangerous depression may look different in children and teens than they do in adults. You know your child best. Look for changes in behavior, and pay attention to off-hand comments that might have deeper meaning. Listen for things like:

“You won’t have to worry about that much longer.”

“You’d be better off without me.”

“I just can’t take it any more.”

Then do one hard thing.

If you think your child is having serious problems, ask them. Ask “Are you thinking about killing yourself or have you thought about suicide?”

That question may begin the most important conversation you’ll ever have with your child. Don’t worry that asking about suicide will make your child more likely to make an attempt. Research has shown that it doesn’t.

Youth who are in imminent danger of suicide often discuss their intentions, verbally threaten to kill themselves or take concrete steps toward suicide, such as collecting pills or securing a weapon. A young person may talk or write in a journal about death, forming a specific plan.

Substance abuse increases the risk of suicide. Other risk factors include:

  • Diagnosed mental illness, mood disorder, depression or anxiety
  • A family history of suicide or a suicide in the child’s school or peer group
  • A history of impulsive, aggressive or disruptive behavior
  • Family conflict or recent stressful life event
  • Incidents of bullying – both the bully and the victim can be at risk
  • Access to lethal means, like the availability of guns, drugs or other items that can be easily used to commit suicide

So if you ask your child that hard question, and the answer is “yes,” explain lovingly that suicide is never an option, that you love and support him or her and that you will get help and work on this together. Then call a crisis hotline and seek out a mental health professional.

Even if your child says “no” to this question but you think your child could benefit from a talk with a mental health professional, find a good one. Ask for recommendations from people you trust or use one of the online therapist locator links from a trusted group like the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association or the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists.

Youth Villages operates crisis response services for children under age 18 in most of Tennessee. A list of crisis telephone numbers is here. In other states, crisis hotlines are available or you can ask your child’s pediatrician for recommendations. If you ever feel your child is a danger to himself or others, call 911 and ask for an immediate connection to appropriate help in your community.

Here are other resources:

It’s important to remember that suicide is more prevalent in Robin Williams’ demographic group than for children and youth. Accidents, especially automobile accidents, are the leading cause of death for young people, followed by homicide and then suicide. Most of our teens won’t have dangerous mental health issues. Almost all of them will be on the road as teen drivers or passengers in vehicles driven by their friends. Stressing seatbelt, mobile phone and texting safety should always be a top priority for parents.

Dr. Tim Goldsmith, Youth Villages' chief clinical officer

Dr. Tim Goldsmith, Youth Villages’ chief clinical officer

Tim Goldsmith, Ph.D., is chief clinical officer at Youth Villages, where he directs a staff of clinical specialists who oversee the work we do with children and families across the country.

Dr. Tim and his core clinical managers have experience helping children with the most serious problems. Together, they oversee the counselors and specialists who work directly with parents, teaching them ways to help their children overcome serious problems and go on to do well at home, at school and in the community. This year, our clinical and counseling staff will help more than 22,000 children across the country.

Now Dr. Tim and his staff of experts can answer your questions, too. All parents have moments when they wish they could consult with an expert. If you have a question about your tween or teen’s behavior, send it to


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