Advocates Thank Donors for Helping them Empower Youth and Families with Tools to Firm their Foundation

    Sullivan County Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc. team collecting, bagging and delivering the food bags to program participants and their families (Left: Mallory Ruiz, Center: Carl Graham & Right: Sarah March)

    Helping families with their basic needs is all in a day’s work for the Orange and Sullivan County (NY) Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc. When the COVID-19 pandemic put people out of work, the YAP team worried that their go-to resources might not be enough to meet the overwhelming needs of families already facing complex challenges.

    The YAP team supports youth and families whose needs are complex

    Partnering with youth justice and child welfare systems 29 states and the District of Columbia, YAP programs serve as a community-based alternative to youth incarceration and out-of-home placement. The evidence-based YAP model centers on helping youth see and realize their strengths while connecting their parents/guardians with individualized tools and resources — employment, education, therapeutic services, food, and other relief — to meet their basic needs.

    To help its more than 150 local offices, the nonprofit established the YAP COVID-19 Fund. Local YAP program leaders and national fund development team members were hard at work, looking for individual donors, foundations and businesses willing to help.  One of those that responded was Community Foundation of Orange and Sullivan.

    Members of Sullivan County Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc. team (Left: Mallory Ruiz, Center: Carl Graham & Right: Sarah March)

    “YAP employs a model that entails empowering young people and their families to succeed,” said Sullivan County YAP Assistant Director Sarah March. “Amid the pandemic, in addition to quickly designing virtual support tools, we’ve been working hard to ensure that YAP families have the basics they need to be safe and secure. We are so thankful to our friends at the Community Foundation of Orange and Sullivan for their support of our work with their contribution to the YAP COVID-19 Response Fund.”

    YAP National Director of Private Sector Giving Jessica Stadt said the grant came at a time when staff needed to take extra steps to socially distance and protect the youth and families they serve as well as themselves.

    YAP National Director of Private Sector Giving Jessica Stadt

    “The Community Foundation of Orange and Sullivan grant helped  YAP  purchase PPE items, cleaning supplies, paper products, personal hygiene items and emergency food to dispense to YAP families in Orange and Sullivan counties and deliver by YAP staff weekly,” she said.

    The foundation continues to reach out to its community of supporters, knowing that for organizations like YAP,  the need for support continues.

    “We are blown away by the outpouring of generosity by community members, corporations and foundations alike. Surpassing half a million dollars raised was no small task, and it shows just how much folks in Orange and Sullivan counties care about their neighbors’ wellbeing even when their own daily lives have been turned upside down,” said Elizabeth Rowley, CFOS President and CEO. “However, as the weeks pass and more and more people are out of work, the need for services provided by area nonprofits will rise. We hope that those who can will continue to give to help the most vulnerable get through this crisis. We’re certain that with our help, nonprofits like YAP will continue to rise to the occasion to provide the critical goods and services needed.”

    The fund issues grants to established nonprofit organizations that provide frontline services to Orange and Sullivan Counties’ most vulnerable populations.

    “The Sullivan County Youth Advocate Program has been overjoyed by the amount of support that we have received from our entire community during this pandemic. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank The Federation for the Homeless, located in Monticello, NY, The White Lake Food Pantry and St. Peter’s Church in Liberty, NY for their support and for all of the food that they have given us and will continue to give on a bi-weekly basis for the time being,” Sarah said. “We cannot begin to express how grateful we are and how much we appreciate everything that these organizations have done for YAP! These are very trying times for everyone but because of these organizations our clients and their families can have peace of mind knowing that they will have food to feed their families.”

    Learn more about YAP and how you can support work in your community at