Serving Youth Where They Are

March 22, 2023

La Plata Youth Services is here for youths and teens at all stages - whether they need a bit of help at school or a safe place to spend the afternoon or weekend. With a variety of programs designed to target specific needs within the community, La Plata Youth Services aims to ensure the wellbeing and success of every young person it serves. By Hannah Robertson. This story is sponsored by Service Master Restore and Serious Texas BBQ

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Founded in 1994, La Plata Youth Services aims to provide a continuum of services to youths in the community facing challenges in court, at home, or at school. You're watching the Local NEWS Network, brought to you by ServiceMaster Restore and Serious Texas Bar-B-Q. I'm Connor Shreve.

Our programming really focuses on prevention and early intervention, trying to get upstream for young individuals to provide resources, support, connections to positive adults, as well as the community, in order to build those protective factors. And we know, especially with that element of connection, if young individuals are connected to just one positive role model outside the family, it makes a huge difference in their ability to thrive in life.

There are several different programs within La Plata Youth Services for which youth might be referred to. The Diversion Program targets young people who are at high risk of the school-to-prison pipeline, providing opportunities for community involvement and tools to better handle challenges. The Radical Possibilities Mentoring Program, designed specifically for middle school and high school students, provides mentorship for participants who are facing challenges that negatively impact their wellbeing and lives.

And so we have two programs operating under the umbrella of socio-emotional programs. One is a school-based therapeutic intervention, and so we partner with schools in Ignacio and Durango, and hopefully Bayfield moving into the future, where we have contracted therapists in the school environment working one-on-one with individuals. And these are youth that otherwise would not have the opportunity to access therapeutic support outside of the school environment. I think we serve 242 youth just through that program alone last year, and we're on track to probably break that this year, which is great and alarming. The need outweighs the capacity in a lot of regards.

Perhaps one of La Plata Youth Services' most successful recent programs is the launching of the Hub Therapeutic Program.

We were able to establish the Hub Therapeutic Program, which is a multi-agency made up of Durango School District 9-R, La Plata Youth Services, Department of Human Services, Child Wellness Center, and a lot of other more informal partnerships that we have to provide an educational learning opportunity that is unlike any other one, in not just this area, but really there are very few across the nation that provide this level of just intentionality. It's a beautiful space. I'm biased and I'm very proud of the work that we've done, and we launched this in the midst of COVID, in 2020, with four middle school students. Last year, we served, across all the elements of programming, 104 youth, and these are some of the highest-risk youth in the county. And recently, or this year, we launched a full-time high school program under the Hub guys. I mean, it's one of the coolest things that I've ever seen come together.

The work that La Plata Youth Services does could not be possible without the support of multiple community organizations, and is the backbone of the Collaborative Management Program, helping La Plata youths overcome barriers, such as housing, food insecurity, lack of family support, and so much more. Many of the programs focus on those barriers, making them less of an insurmountable issue and something more manageable. Of course, all these efforts require funding. For the first time in three years, La Plata Youth Services was able to host their annual art show fundraiser in person once again,

It's just a celebration of young individuals in this community. Ultimately, I mean, while there's all these other things, right? It's nice to get some cash and things like that, but ultimately, we're building those protective factors, right? The confidence, the sense of self and self-worth, self-esteem. All these different indicators for success are buried in there, too, that we're hoping to promote. Yeah, it's one of those... Yeah, we're in the midst of it right now, and it's been busy for sure, as we're going through all the different pieces that we have and trying to coordinate all the little nuances. But ultimately, this is... It's not a fundraiser for LPYS or La Plata Youth Services. It's a way to showcase the talent that is spread across this community in a different way.

The support and opportunities La Plata Youth Services provides our lifesaving in so many ways for the youth of La Plata County. Through mentorship, tutoring, support, and so much more, La Plata Youth Services aims to ensure that young people who face challenges from housing, food insecurity, and more are given opportunities to succeed and be successful in life. Learn more about La Plata Youth Services online at Thanks for watching this edition of The Local NEWS Network. I'm Connor Shreve.


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