Las Vegas, Nevada – A group of Clark County, Nevada young people working to turn their lives around got an unexpected reward. They’re participants in Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc.’s community-based youth justice program. YAP staff hosted a prom for the young people — a traditional high school milestone they would have otherwise missed.
YAP is a 47-year-old national nonprofit in 33 states and the District of Columbia that partners with youth justice, child welfare, behavioral health, and other systems to provide trauma-informed community-based services as an alternative to youth incarceration, congregate care, and neighborhood violence.
YAP provides young people frontline staff Advocates who empower them with tools to meet their educational, economic, or emotional needs and achieve positive goals. Some of the youths referred to YAP have experienced poverty, gang violence, human trafficking, or early parenting.
“The thought around our prom was how justice-impacted youth miss out on many of the special moments implicitly promised to them during their school-age years because of how the justice system is designed,” said YAP Regional Director Nyeri Richards. “Alternative education and schools inside detention facilities do not offer the same opportunities to justice-impacted youth that traditional school does.”
Richards said the Las Vegas YAP staff worked hard to offer program participants a nice event where they could dress up and enjoy themselves in an elegant setting.
“What we did at YAP was bring the broken promises to our office and mend them by celebrating each young person who is dedicated to improving their lives,” she added.