The Neighborhood Advocate

Public Service Campaign to Highlight Community-based Alternatives to Youth Incarceration and Congregate Care

YAP former program participant and recently hired Advocate Tumani during public service announcement recording session.

Gavin, a former YAP Behavioral Health program participant, shares his artwork during PSA production.

Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc. has begun production for “But I’m Not,” a unique public service advertising (PSA) campaign designed to raise awareness of safe, effective community-based alternatives to youth incarceration and congregate care/treatment.

Developed in partnership with The CauseWay Agency and Picture Perfect Production & Editorial (PPP&E), the campaign will include digital, TV, radio and print ads that run with the tagline, “Others talk social change; we make it happen.”

A national nonprofit in 32 states and the District of Columbia, YAP partners with youth justice, child welfare, behavioral health, intellectual disabilities, and other systems to deliver neighborhood and family-based rehabilitative and other social services. YAP’s frontline Advocates, behavioral health professionals and intellectual disabilities staff receive training that teaches them to help individuals see their strengths while connecting them and their parents/guardians with basic-needs resources that firm their family’s foundation.

TV, radio and print “But I’m Not” public service announcement (PSA) ads feature three current and former YAP program participants who appear with frontline YAP staff members.

Former YAP Youth Justice Program Participant Tumani, who was recently hired as an Advocate, takes a walk with his former Advocate/now co-worker Jamal.

Tumani, age 22, a former YAP Youth Justice program participant, shares how as a youth, he committed crimes, even got shot. “But I’m not a criminal” he says looking into the camera.

Former YAP participant Jaylyn poses for a picture during photo shoot for YAP PSA campaign.

Jaylyn, age 16, a former YAP Child Welfare program participant, shares how as a little girl, she experienced trauma, acted out, and made mistakes.

“But I’m not a mistake,” she says. Gavin, age 22, a participant in YAP’s Intellectual Disabilities/Autism program who also received YAP Behavioral Health services, shares how growing up, he was often told what he can’t do, so much that he has often lost hope. “But I’m not hopeless,” he says.

For the ads, Tumani is joined by his former Advocate, Jamal; Jaylyn is joined by her former Advocate, Milly; and Gavin is joined by Frances, a YAP Intellectual Disabilities Specialist Advocate who along with YAP Behavioral Health program staff, have supported him for several years.

Gavin, a former YAP Behavioral Health program participant now works with Intellectual Disabilities Specialist Frances Rimby.

At the end of the 60-second PSA, Tumani tells the audience that now he’s an Advocate, who like Jamal, is helping young people change their lives.

“This campaign brings to light how the power of YAP’s model is its simplicity. Each of our program participants shares how working with our amazing Advocates and behavioral health professionals, they were empowered to truly see and put into practice their unique strengths gifts and talents to help themselves and others,”  said YAP Chief Communications Officer Kelly D. Williams. “I’m extremely excited that these public service announcements provide one more avenue for people to see how special YAP is and to highlight how the organization’s work is what social change looks like.”

YAP Advocate Milly prepares for photo shoot with former Child Welfare program participant Jaylyn.

“But I’m Not” seeks to build awareness of YAP as it works to serve more young people and families through expanded youth justice, child welfare, behavioral health, intellectual disabilities, and other social services systems partnerships.  The national nonprofit is also expanding partnerships with cities and counties transforming public safety through violence interruption services.

YAP’s digital PSAs are already appearing in searches for people looking for mentoring, advocacy, social services and social justice jobs and partnerships. Video and radio PSAs under production this month will be available to TV and radio stations beginning late March when they will also post for sharing on YAP’s website at

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