The Neighborhood Advocate

With Help from Youth Advocate Programs, Julian is Off Drugs and Turning His Life Around

Former Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc. program participant Julian

Providence, R.I. – With the help of Youth Advocate Programs (YAP™), Inc., former program participant Julian was able to get off drugs and get back to high school.

“My [YAP] Advocates were very understanding and patient,” Julian said, adding they helped him obtain a social security card so he could get a job. “They would help sit down with me to get myself on the right track and work with me on my goals.”

According to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, there is a link between substance abuse and delinquency.

“A good 60-70% of youths we serve in the youth justice system typically have substance abuse issues,” said Regional Director Estrella Griggs (Licensed Professional Counselor & Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor) of Santa Fe Youth Services in Texas, a Division of YAP. “In Sante Fe we provide substance abuse programs that are specifically designed for adolescents. All of our programs are individualized with the program participant receiving an assigned counselor who will work with them through the process of recovery.”

In its pre-50th year, YAP is the leading nonprofit provider of trauma-informed services that reduce the nation’s over reliance on youth incarceration, residential care, and group home foster placements. In 35 states and Washington, D.C., and headquartered in Harrisburg, Pa., YAP partners with public systems to provide community- based wraparound and behavioral health services as an alternative to out-of-home placement. YAP also uses its wrap around services approach in its community violence intervention (CVI) work in several cities across the country.

Julian was referred to YAP for substance abuse issues and was required by the court to complete three months in the program to have his drug case dropped. Julian said he first started doing drugs at age 14 and got off them at 18. Born in Texas, he was adopted by his grandmother and moved to Rhode Island with her when he was two years old.


“Julian has come a long way,” said YAP Providence County, R.I. Assistant Director Allen Leach. “In the beginning he was doing pretty badly. He wasn’t going to school at all but now he’s graduated from the program and is doing well.”

Leach was on the team of YAP staff and Advocates who worked with Julian. Often hired from the neighborhoods they serve, YAP Advocates are trained to empower program participants to see their strengths while connecting them and their families to wraparound services that include individualized educational, economic, and emotional tools to help them achieve their goals and re-set their lives.

Aside from his day job, Julian is an artist and makes music. His next goal is to get a car.

“He has come a long way from where he was and what he was going through to where he is now,” Leach said. “He is spiritual and is into crystals and that type of thing. He goes to work, goes to appointments, and still is on top of his future.”

“If it wasn’t for YAP, I probably would be dead or in jail; something drastic like that,” Julian added. “YAP is an amazing program. All of the staff are very understanding and helpful people. It’s nothing but positive energy to be around.”

Learn more about YAP and how you can support the national nonprofit’s work at

Follow the nonprofit on X @YAPInc.

Exit mobile version