Youth and Families with Promise, also known as YFP, is seeking to address youth problems through early intervention with at-risk youth, ages 10-14. It is a two-level mentoring program with young-adult individual mentors and grandparent-age mentor couples designed to reduce and prevent delinquent behavior.
"Youth and Families with Promise has been sponsored by Utah State University since the 1980s, but it's been in Davis County for the past seven years," said Site Coordinator Jan Hadley. "We're always looking for more mentors, and we've got some great kids here to work with. We also offer a various array of activities for these kids."
The program began with funding from the Utah Board on Juvenile Justice and was developed by the Utah State University Extension/4-H Program. YFP is now offered throughout most of Utah, and the youth involved will either be matched up with a young adult mentor or an older person or couple who can serve as "grandmentors" for the youth or entire family.
The mentors range in age from 18 to 80 and are asked to meet with their youth or family every seven to 10 days, or once or twice a week, with a minimum commitment of one year. "The main goal at YFP is to enable youth to become competent, caring and contributing members of society by involving youth and their families in mentoring, organized activities and community participation," Hadley said.
The program's activities provide ways to improve academic performance, increase interpersonal competence and strengthen family bonds while the mentors establish caring relationships with the identified youth and his or her family. Mentors will provide motivation in reading, academic skills and by participating with them in structured recreation, community service and community youth groups.
"We have 30 kids in the program right now and 15 mentors, and we have a variety of different kids," "They could be shy, have trouble making friends, have a learning disability or have a hard time adjusting after moving. The kids may also have gone through a divorce or have parents who are incarcerated or struggling with drugs."
YFP offers the opportunity for the mentors to "hang out" and be friends with the youth, and also channel energy and interests of both the mentor and youth into community participation. They can participate through enrollment in 4-H or other community service projects.
Those interested in being a mentor or who want more information about the program can call 451-3414 or e-mail YFPdavis@hotmail.com.