Blog Articles

Runaway Behaviors

Runaway Behaviors

As the weather gets nicer and the days become longer, many caregivers are planning dinners outside, end-of-school celebrations and summer vacations. But, while some caregivers are planning graduation parties and backyard barbeques, many have a different concern –...

Getting creative with therapeutic interventions

Getting creative with therapeutic interventions

Creativity is important. Simply engaging in creative activities can boost your mental health and a new survey from APA finds about 46% of Americans use creative activities to relieve stress or anxiety, such as playing the piano, crocheting a blanket, dancing with friends or solving crossword puzzles.

Staff Spotlight: Lacey Moon | Oregon

Staff Spotlight: Lacey Moon | Oregon

Working in just about every area of community-based services and playing many roles in its growth across states has given Lacy Moon the opportunity for professional growth during their five years at Youth Villages.

Talking about a tough topic

Talking about a tough topic

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Since COVID-19 became part of our lives four years ago, most agencies saw a decrease in child abuse reporting due to virtual schools and fewer activities outside of the home.

Rising Above: NicFelix Navigates the Road to Independence

Rising Above: NicFelix Navigates the Road to Independence

Children who grow up in foster care often face intense challenges at a young age. And by the time they reach adulthood, accomplishing goals and making it on their own can feel nearly impossible. That’s why programs like LifeSet are so important for young adults aging out of state care.

Holiday Heroes Spread Joy

Holiday Heroes Spread Joy

Holiday Heroes is the most magical time of the year at Youth Villages. From the beginning of October through the end of December, we work to ensure every child and young adult in our programs gets to experience joy during the holiday season.

Intercept brings help and hope to families in Maine

Intercept brings help and hope to families in Maine

Youth Villages has offered services in Massachusetts since 2007 and in 2010, expanded into New Hampshire. I’ve worked for Youth Villages for six years and, in that time, I’ve held multiple roles. I started as a family intervention specialist and transitioned to a regional supervisor.

Anxiety is at an all-time high

Anxiety is at an all-time high

Childhood, and raising children, are the same as they always were but by today’s standards are almost completely different. The last few years have been incredibly anxiety provoking for anyone

Youth Villages Official Statement

Youth Villages Official Statement

We are deeply saddened by the loss of a child following a medical emergency that occurred at one of our campuses two weeks ago. We care about every young person that we help. We are heartbroken by this event, and our thoughts are with the child’s family in this difficult time.

From Fostering to Adopting: The Phelps’ Unexpected Story

From Fostering to Adopting: The Phelps’ Unexpected Story

November is National Adoption Awareness Month. More than 8,000 children in the state of Tennessee need safe and loving temporary or permanent homes. Foster families have the opportunity to provide this and create a lasting impact on young people. When navigating their journey, foster parents provide guidance and support for youth to safely travel their path.

5 ways to help prevent bullying

5 ways to help prevent bullying

Is your child being bullied? A staggering number of children are being bullied on a daily basis in person and through technology. According to federal statistics, approximately 20% of students aged 12-18 experience bullying nationwide.

Be Aware of Drastic Behavior Changes

Be Aware of Drastic Behavior Changes

Last month, the CDC released a startling report that in 2022, deaths by suicides were at an all-time high, with nearly 50,000 Americans taking their own lives. This number marks a three percent increase from the previous year.

Focusing on mental health to mend a family

Focusing on mental health to mend a family

Having children is a life-changing experience, and most parents will admit you’re never ready until you become one. There is certainly not a universal manual on how to parent, and at the end of the day, most parents want to raise their children the best way they know how.

Specialized Crisis Services: 20 years and growing

Specialized Crisis Services: 20 years and growing

In the summer of 2002, Youth Villages launched an innovative approach in crisis intervention care for youth. Managing Director for Program Operations Support Caroline Hannah was tapped by Chief Executive Office Patrick Lawler to lead the effort.

988: A year later

988: A year later

September is National Suicide Prevention Month and the one-year mark of the 9-8-8 hotline number. The Crisis Lifeline has been in existence for decades.

Back-to-school safety conversations

Back-to-school safety conversations

If you have a loved one who is school-age, back-to-school safety is probably what keeps you up at night. As a mental health provider, clinicians at Youth Villages have had these tough conversations for decades, and they never get any easier. Talking to your children about how to feel safe is so important.

Sizzling Summer Kick Off Party

Sizzling Summer Kick Off Party

Youth Villages started summer off HOT! On June 13, the Youth Villages Leadership Council held a Summer Kick Off Event to benefit our Backpack Heroes campaign.

Memphis Parent – May is National Foster Care Month

Foster Care Awareness Month

May has long been recognized as Foster Care Awareness Month. Nationwide, more than 390,000 kids need a foster family and in Tennessee, more than 8,000 kids need foster homes with approximately 4,000 homes available.

Teens in Crisis

Teens in Crisis

The CDC recently released a disturbing study showing that 3 in 5 teen girls have felt deeply sad or hopeless in 2021, a 60% increase since 2013

Meet Jeremy, the North Carolina youth selected as a Joey Logano Crew Member

Meet Jeremy, the North Carolina youth selected as a Joey Logano Crew Member

Catherine Bergrud, a Family Support Partner in Asheville, North Carolina, goes above and beyond to help Jeremy live out his dream and supports them to overcome behavioral challenges. The Joey Logano Foundation continues their support of Youth Villages’ mission by providing kids like Jeremy with experiences of a lifetime.

Helping foster families succeed

Helping foster families succeed

The state of foster care in Tennessee is in crisis. More children than ever need temporary, safe homes compared to the amount of open foster homes. Nationwide, a child is placed into foster care every two minutes, so the need is great. In Tennessee, more than 8,000 kids are in the foster care system with only around 4,000 certified foster homes available.

From Hallway to Home  – Haley’s Story

From Hallway to Home  – Haley’s Story

The lack of mental health resources has become a crisis across the country, especially in Massachusetts.  On any given day in Massachusetts, there are over 100 children boarding in hospital emergency departments (EDs) because there are no psychiatric beds available.

Youth Villages Red Kite Nite Raises $60K

Youth Villages Red Kite Nite Raises $60K

Puffy sleeves, tacky cummerbunds and big hair were on the scene at the Youth Villages Red Kite Nite Retro Prom held Oct. 29. More than 100 attendees came together at the SoWa Power Station in Boston, Massachusetts, to raise funds and awareness for the organization.

Caiden’s Story

Caiden’s Story

On a rainy spring day, an Intercept specialist received a voicemail from Jade, a 23-year-old mother whose son, Caiden, was in our Intercept program. “Thank you so much for coming here today and always supporting me through this whole thing.

Tom Palmieri: Why I Joined the Youth Villages Leadership Council

Tom Palmieri: Why I Joined the Youth Villages Leadership Council

From the first moment I heard of Youth Villages, I was hooked. Two Youth Villages employees came to my company’s office five years ago for an informal ‘lunch and learn’ about the organization. They took us through the LifeSet program from its start in Massachusetts in 2009 to its current state and their hope for the program’s growth.

Andreia finds new life, mindset

Andreia finds new life, mindset

Andreia had a rough start. Her mother had a substance abuse problem and went to jail, sending Andreia and her older siblings to kinship care. One after another her siblings left home.

LifeSet Expands to Northwest Arkansas

LifeSet Expands to Northwest Arkansas

Youth Villages, a national nonprofit organization and a leader in the field of children’s mental and behavioral health, has partnered with the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to offer LifeSet, a program that serves as a bridge from foster care to adulthood.

Thriving from Passion and Enthusiasm—a YV5K story

Thriving from Passion and Enthusiasm—a YV5K story

The Youth Villages 5K—known as the YV5K—turns the big 4-0 this October, and there is no slowing down for this annual event. Held in the spring its first 37 years, the City of Memphis’ “longest-running” 5K returns to the fall for a second straight year on Oct. 22

Growing Resilience in Youth

Growing Resilience in Youth

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. For more than two years, we’ve seen study after study proving the declining mental health of kids and teens. There has also been an uptick in crisis calls received by Youth Villages across the state of Tennessee.

Learning how to cope

Learning how to cope

Nineteen-year-old Trinity has learned many life skills through the Youth Villages LifeSet program, which serves as a bridge from foster care to successful adulthood and helps young adults build the skills they need to live independently and successfully.

LifeSet partner agencies convene in Philadelphia

LifeSet partner agencies convene in Philadelphia

Leaders from all 20 implementing LifeSet partner agencies attended a convening in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to learn more about effectively implementing the program model and to share insights from implementations in their states and jurisdictions.

LifeSet to launch in Central Washington with Catholic Charities

LifeSet to launch in Central Washington with Catholic Charities

LifeSet is moving east in the Evergreen State. In mid-June, Catholic Charities Serving Central Washington was announced as the new partner to provide LifeSet in the area. The organization will serve youth in Yakima, Benton and Franklin counties with LifeSet under contract with the Washington Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF).

LifeSet’s Helen Baker grows through challenges, successes in Seattle

LifeSet’s Helen Baker grows through challenges, successes in Seattle

Helen Baker is the LifeSet program director at the Y Social Impact Center, a part of the YMCA of Greater Seattle that serves King and Pierce Counties in Washington. Baker, who started as a LifeSet specialist, has been with the YMCA’s program since it began in 2016. In this Q&A, she offers insight into the successes and challenges that LifeSet has experienced in Washington.

LifeSet Gives Student a Chance to Run towards success

LifeSet Gives Student a Chance to Run towards success

Ares Epps is a LifeSet participant, LifeSet Scholar and a North Carolina State University student athlete, who has accomplished many of his goals through track and field, and with the support of Youth Villages. The LifeSet program offers youth who are aging out of foster care tools to ease the transition from childhood to adulthood.

Meet Memphis Allies: Brandon and Bryan Mathis, Life Coaches

Meet Memphis Allies: Brandon and Bryan Mathis, Life Coaches

The man was shot and killed in front of his 2-year-old daughter. It was another senseless homicide in Memphis; another child traumatized by gun violence. To Brandon and Bryan Mathis and the Memphis Allies team, this man, this incident was more than just a statistic.

East Tennessee’s Backpack Heroes gets big boost from KAAR, ‘Birdies for Backpacks’

East Tennessee’s Backpack Heroes gets big boost from KAAR, ‘Birdies for Backpacks’

Backpack Heroes is an annual Youth Villages fundraiser focused on equipping children and young adults in each of the organization’s service regions with school supplies needed for the upcoming year. East Tennessee is one of those areas, and Youth Villages is grateful for the financial support Backpack Heroes receives from the Knoxville Area Association of Realtors (KAAR) and its Birdies for Backpacks golf tournament.

Donor Spotlight: Meghan Markie

Donor Spotlight: Meghan Markie

Middle Tennessee native and donor, Meghan Markie, originally from Columbia, Tennessee, has been supporting Youth Villages after her father introduced her to the organization, where he volunteered as a Dell employee before his passing. Since getting involved, Meghan joined the Middle Tennessee Advisory Board, and for the last two years, she served as Board Chair.

Youth Villages reroutes Mariana’s life Course

Youth Villages reroutes Mariana’s life Course

When many teenagers enter their junior year of high school, their life pathways are somewhat charted. For some, the path leads to college. For others, a trade or technical school. For still others, finding employment. But often that path is set up starting with the freshman year.

How to help celebrate Pride

How to help celebrate Pride

June has long been recognized as LGBTQ+ Pride Month, observing the need for equality and inclusion across all sexual identity communities. The topic of sexual orientation and identification can be a tough one for adults to approach, so imagine being a teenager needing to have these conversations with your family and your community.

Following the Plan

Following the Plan

Youth Villages celebrates an adoption story on National Foster Care Day. Even the best laid plans don’t go as planned, and that also goes for foster care and adoption. However, for Chinishe Ray, her plans to adopt have gone as expected not only once but twice.

Opening Homes & Hearts

Opening Homes & Hearts

Foster parenting sounds intimidating but with support, can be incredibly rewarding. Linzie Mullins, a Youth Villages foster-to-adopt parent in Memphis, was once in your shoes.

A Letter to Youth Villages

A Letter to Youth Villages

Dear Youth Villages, My name is Amber, and I am 23 years old. I lost my dad at a very young age and grew up with a mother who battled addiction and untreated trauma that led to many mental health problems leaving her incapable of caring for herself or for me.

LifeSet gave Shylann tools to cope with anxiety, succeed in school

LifeSet gave Shylann tools to cope with anxiety, succeed in school

Imagine this scenario: You’re a dormitory resident assistant (RA) on a college campus. A winter storm comes through, dumping several inches of snow and lowering temperatures below freezing. Then, the dorm’s pipes burst. Suddenly, your residents have no water—to drink, shower or even flush toilets. They all are looking to you for help and guidance.

LifeSet expanding in Missouri — the “Show-Me” State

LifeSet expanding in Missouri — the “Show-Me” State

Julie Lester, chief program officer for the Missouri Alliance for Children and Families (MACF), says the “Show-Me” State not only needed LifeSet but craved something like it. Initial implementation proceeded despite the pandemic, and now MACF is expanding LifeSet to a second location.

LifeSet walks step-by-step with Dallas

LifeSet walks step-by-step with Dallas

Nineteen-year-old Dallas, a young man in southwest Missouri, sees his LifeSet specialist as more than just a health professional working to help him. She’s more like a friend walking with him every step—something he hasn’t always had.

How I got “LifeSetted”: Q&A with Darin Hudson, LPE with Turning Points

How I got “LifeSetted”: Q&A with Darin Hudson, LPE with Turning Points

Darin Hudson is a Licensed Program Expert with Turning Points, a LifeSet implementing provider based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Darin joined Turning Points in 2014 and has grown his career with LifeSet. In this Q&A, Darin explores his journey from specialist to Licensed Program Expert with the hope of inspiring others to take the opportunity to grow with LifeSet.

Generations of Youth Villages Volunteers

Generations of Youth Villages Volunteers

Lisa Small and Kim Lapidus served the Nashville chapter of the National Council for Jewish Women (NCJW) for several years. Their dedicated involvement with NCJW later brought them to Youth Villages…

K’laja’s Journey with Youth Villages

K’laja’s Journey with Youth Villages

K’laja is currently enrolled in Youth Villages’ LifeSet program, an intensive support program designed to help youth actualize their goals of self-sufficiency and independence as they prepare to age out of foster care. Without these supports, young people face far...

Healing Through the Written Word

Healing Through the Written Word

Sometimes, the closest people to us—family and friends—don’t understand. They may think they know the situation better than anyone, even the person who is suffering. Instead of helping that person, it may lead to further issues.

A Lifeline of Hope

A Lifeline of Hope

Young people who experience foster care are resilient and capable. Still, they need support as they move toward adulthood.

Mentors provide positive experience for our youth

Mentors provide positive experience for our youth

January is National Mentor Appreciation Month, and we are immensely grateful for all our Georgia mentors! Mentoring is a calling to be of service to a young person during a pivotal time in their development. Our mentors commit to spending time with mentees for four to six hours a month…

Meet Our New LifeSet Supervisor!

Meet Our New LifeSet Supervisor!

Youth Villages is excited to welcome Amanda Matthews as the new supervisor for LifeSet in Oregon. We are so grateful to have Amanda lead LifeSet as we begin 2022, a year with ambitious growth goals for the program.

Organization is the key

Organization is the key

Kiara is a busy young lady. A single mother, Kiara takes care of her 8-year-old daughter, Kyra. She also attends college full time, taking prerequisites to pursue a nursing degree. Additionally, she works full time in an overnight job with Memphis-based FedEx.

Mentors, mentees connect through ‘nerdom’

Mentors, mentees connect through ‘nerdom’

When twins Jordan and Devan Brown were in the LifeSet program, Youth Villages paired them with mentors. Instead of just sending someone their way, the twins were allowed to list some qualities they wanted in their mentors.

A Gamechanger for Mental Health

A Gamechanger for Mental Health

In 2019, 16-year-old Cassidy was in an in-patient mental health center. She struggled for years with depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation. In just one year, Cassidy was hospitalized for her mental health nine times…

The Neal Family celebrated another adoption!

The Neal Family celebrated another adoption!

Remember, Jonathan and Jaywanna Neal adopting Christopher in 2019, well the family celebrated another adoption this past year adopting Maliki in May of 2021, in the middle of the pandemic. The family wasted no time adopting Maliki as soon as he became available for adoption.

Suicide Prevention Month

Suicide Prevention Month

September is Suicide Prevention Month, a time to end the stigma around suicides and offer help to those experiencing a mental health crisis. Tennessee had a total of 1,219 suicides last year, an 11% increase since 2015. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death by...

Finding My North Star: My journey from foster care to success

Finding My North Star: My journey from foster care to success

By Elina MorrisonYouth Villages Advisory Council Dear 17-year-old Elina, At this time in your life, you are angry and sad, and things feel beyond repair. It’s October of 2017, and you have been placed in the foster care system for the second time in your life. While...

Learning to be Patient – Neal Family

Learning to be Patient – Neal Family

For Middle Tennessee-based Jaywanna Neal, fostering is second nature. Growing up, her mom opened her home to foster children and adopted a pair of siblings. When Jaywanna was single and in her 20s, she took in her first foster child. She said it was a great...

Justin checks off big goals as he moves toward independence

Justin checks off big goals as he moves toward independence

It’s been a big year for Justin.

A participant in the Pressley Ridge LifeSet program in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Justin was turning 21 this year and needed to finish high school, find a place to live that gave him more independence, and learn life and social skills. He and LifeSet Specialist Ryan King kept a list and began checking things off.

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