Youth Development programs help young people navigate the difficult stage of adolescence by recognizing and building on their strengths. Key to this approach is providing young people with opportunities to discover their strengths and create positive relationships. Through mentoring, life skills training, pregnancy prevention and child advocacy programs, Family Services ushers children and youth onto the path of success.
Through the dedication and hard work of community volunteers, Family Services’ Essex County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program works diligently to make sure that children who have suffered abuse and neglect have the chance to grow up in safe, nurturing and permanent homes.
Connecting young people with positive adult role models is one of the most effective ways to ensure young people succeed in school and in life! Research shows that youth-adult mentoring relationships result in improved academic performance, better self-esteem, and reductions in substance use and other risk behaviors. To achieve those outcomes for youth in our community, Family Services implements several mentoring programs.
The Esteem program serves youth ages 13-18 who are court involved, acting out at home/school, or have a CRA petition. Through three program components (case management, wellness activities and leadership opportunities), Esteem increases participants self-esteem, improves their connections to school, and helps them pursue positive plans for the future.
Family Services collaborates with school districts and other youth serving organizations to provide positive youth development and sexuality health education utilizing the Making Proud Choices curriculum to teach healthy decision making, reproductive health, and healthy relationships.