About Youth Link
Jay Paris, Director
about youth linkYouth Link is an innovative prevention initiative from the North American Family Institute (NAFI), a human service agency established in 1974, with a long track record of impacting youth and families at risk. Youth Link programs combine to build lasting trust and positive relationships between youth and the community of adults in their lives. NAFI works with each community to adapt the Youth Link model to maximize its strengths and resources to strengthen neighborhood relationships.
Youth Link Mission
Youth Link Mission: Engage youth and families in positive social change to reduce violence and gang involvement by creating sustainable positive relationships among teens and adults of authority – especially police, school personnel and civic leaders – replacing animosity and distrust with mutual respect and understanding.
Who Youth Link Reaches
- Communities with young people who have regular exposure to gang violence and police conflict.
- Schools with groups of students who struggle due to disadvantages that they face at home and in their community.
- Youth who are often not motivated by school or sports and need alternative options such as the arts and vocational training to inspire interest in creating positive futures
- Children and teens in need of structured opportunities that help them develop the skills and habits to be successful.
- Communities that have a desire to support healthy youth development but have not been able to coordinate their resources to overcome the risks their young people are facing
Youth Link's Unique Approach
Youth Link recognizes that adolescents have a keen need to belong. Youth Link staff help them form a positive community that honors a central mission and pro-social values that provide a genuine alternative to gang recruitment. Youth Link programs train community partners to establish:
- Trust in the law and law keepers through its Youth & Police Initiative program (YPI).
- Capacity to train adults to sustain YPI trainings through a train-the-trainer program that monitors and supports long-term youth development.
- Skills that develop young people’s voices to lead through the Youth leadership Academy program. Experiences that provide the opportunity to develop competence and self-confidence through the arts, service, vocational skills and other topics.