A $1.1 million federal grant awarded to Olympia’s Community Youth Services agency will be used to help at-risk teenagers earn diplomas or GEDs.
The grant will continue to fund the nonprofit’s YouthBuild program, which CYS has run since 2009. YouthBuild, which is run through New Market Skills Center in Tumwater, provides classroom instruction and occupational skills training in construction and other in-demand occupations to students 16 to 24 years old who have been in the juvenile justice system, are aging out of foster care, have dropped out of high school, or are otherwise at risk of failing to graduate high school or find living-wage jobs.
“Some New Market and some CYS employees meet pretty intensely with those youth all through the school year,” said Barbara Wakefield, CYS’s development coordinator.
Although construction has been a traditional offering, YouthBuild has added a nursing program.
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“We just started this year a CNA (certified nurses assistant) certification,” said Cora Davidson, a grant writer for CYS.
Participants are in the program for two years. The first is spent in vocational training and the other is spent getting their diploma or GED. Then they receive follow-up services for a year.
There are about 30 students in the active program, with attrition to about 24 who continue into the follow-up program, so there are about 50 students in the program at any time, Davidson said.
CYS received another grant for Tacoma for $194,552 through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Those funds will be used to reach out to homeless youths and young adults and direct them toward family reunification, shelter and housing.
Community Youth Services will serve as the lead agency to work with a broad network of youth-service providers in Tacoma/Pierce County.
“We are honored to collaborate with the City of Tacoma, Pierce County and community partners to address homeless and trauma issues in this community,” said CYS CEO Scott Hanauer said in a news release.
CYS, an $8.2 million non-profit, operates 20 connected programs, including street outreach, a daytime drop-in center, an overnight youth shelter and an emergency shelter.
Community Youth Services Open House
What: Open house to meet the non-profit’s new chief executive officer, Scott Hanauer, who took over Aug. 1 after the retirement of the agency’s longtime leader, Charles Shelan.
When: 3-5 p.m. Friday (Sept. 25).
Where: Community Youth Services, 711 State Ave. NE, Olympia.