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As we move into 2019, there is a growing need for continued and increased support for the numerous and diverse needs of New York State’s youth, families and communities. Youth development and prevention programs provide ­­­­young people in New York State’s rural, suburban and urban areas with meaningful access to mentoring, mental health and supportive counseling, structured afterschool activities and educational supports, employment training, violence prevention and 24-hr crisis intervention services. These cost-effective preventative services work to ensure that children and youth do not find themselves engaged in harmful, risky or criminal activities. For those youth who are re-entering into the community, these community based organizations (CBOs) offer guidance and support and work to reduce recidivism rates and more costly alternatives within the juvenile justice system. These organizations help strengthen communities by empowering and advocating for their children, youth and families. These CBOs are best suited to carry out this work as they understand and can address issues affecting their community in a timely and meaningful manner. In doing this work, these youth service organizations prevent the unnecessary loss of young lives and destruction of families and offer the ability for communities to prosper. These organizations provide hope and a sense of opportunity for children, youth, families and the larger communities within which they live. Every child, in all our communities, deserves access to services.

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