The Impact of Being Part of Something Bigger
One youth service organization's reason for being a Youth Collaboratory member.
Seeking a Broader Vantage Point
In 2014, Youth Services, Inc. joined Youth Collaboratory’s Organizational Membership to learn more about work happening with runaway and homeless youth, as well as the juvenile justice and workforce development world. Within a year, they found themselves with a new executive director and having just completed a new strategic plan. For many programs, this would have been a point to slow down and focus on how they would position their agency in the community. Instead, Youth Services dove straight into a Mentoring+ grant through Youth Collaboratory.
When asked why he remained a member of Youth Collaboratory, Executive Director Russell Bradbury-Carlin shared,
“It is too easy to get caught up in what is going on locally and statewide from our little corner of Vermont. I felt it was important to maintain knowledge and awareness of youth work from a national vantage point.”
Having that connection to other agencies and peers continues to be of value to Youth Services, Inc. Russell also shared that this connection helps in their mentoring work and in their work with transition-aged youth,
“to hear from our peers across the country – what they struggle with and what they’ve done well that we might be able to adopt in our work. There is a great feeling of support and solidarity one feels when you see that others share the same struggles. And there is a lot of excitement and encouragement to hear about different innovative approaches to this work.”
Within the last year, Youth Services, Inc. expanded their mentoring program to start a new project that combines workforce development efforts with mentoring through a youth-led screen printing business. It was a risk that Youth Services decided to take because they knew they had the encouragement of Youth Collaboratory with both funding and programmatic support. That support came through the Mentoring+ grant, but also through opportunities to engage with other programs during Youth Collaboratory’s annual member convening Think Tank and Connection events. It was here that Youth Services could explore and be inspired through big ideas related to youth work but also have engaging conversations about smaller, more detailed elements of the work. Russell shares that without Youth Collaboratory, the youth-led business would not have been a reality and that he looks forward to encouraging other programs to connect with peers and be inspired through Youth Collaboratory membership.
Membership with Youth Collaboratory
To learn more about the benefits of Youth Collaboratory Membership, visit our Membership Page.
Thanks to our member Youth Services, Inc. and Executive Director Russell Bradbury-Carlin for sharing your Youth Collaboratory membership story!
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