The Neighborhood Advocate

With Help from Youth Advocate Programs (YAP™), Inc., Julia Gained Confidence, Connections, and a New Laptop

Former program participant Julia and YAP Tarrant County Qualified Mental Health Professional Sherry Freeman.

Fort Worth, Texas – Julia says she has blossomed since becoming a participant with Youth Advocate Programs (YAP™), Inc. in Tarrant County, Texas about five years ago. YAP is a national nonprofit in 36 states and Washington, D.C. offering community-based youth justice, child welfare, behavioral health, and neighborhood violence prevention alternatives.

“YAP has benefited me in more ways than I can count,” she said. “Before, I used to only talk to people in my immediate little bubble, so this has opened up my circle of connections.”

YAP Tarrant County has youth justice and behavioral health programs which Julia was a part of. An alternative to youth incarceration, group home placement or residential care, the YAP youth justice program provides participants with a neighborhood-based Advocate and the nonprofit’s behavioral health program provides intensive-therapy to youth. Both services provide wraparound support and resources to young people and their families to help set them up for success.

YAP Tarrant County Qualified Mental Health Professional Sherry Freeman was paired with Julia, providing her with tools to tackle personal obstacles standing in the way of her road to college and change the trajectory of her life.

“Julia has demonstrated tremendous effort and growth throughout the years,” Freeman said. “Her positive attitude and striving to be the best are strong qualities of Julia’s.”

Through Julia’s determination and with Freeman’s help, she is now enrolled in college taking online courses. Thanks to the Tom Jeffers Endowment Fund for Continuing Education, which is funded partially by YAP employees, Julia was able to obtain a laptop to assist her in furthering her studies.

“This scholarship will take the weight off of paying for classes and materials that I will need,” Julia, 20, wrote in her Endowment essay. “I won’t worry about missing out on opportunities because I was unable to pay for it.”

Named after YAP’s founder, Tom Jeffers Endowment Fund scholarships are provided to eligible current and former program participants in the form of $1,200 for college tuition or job training/supplies fees, or a laptop computer.

“I want to meet new people and obtain new skills,” Julia wrote about attending college. “I want to overcome any obstacles that are in my way and live a happy fulfilling life. I want to give back to the people who have helped me when I needed it the most.”

Freeman said Julia, who is now a freshman at Tarrant County College, has put in a lot of work and grown over the years, adding that she is an eloquent writer and draws beautifully.

“Julia is known for her positive attitude and desire to be the greatest,” Freeman said. “Her perseverance has helped with her time management.”

Beyond attending college to learn, Julia said she hopes to find her purpose.

“I still have a long way to go, but this program has given me the help and confidence that I needed to move forward,” she added.

For more information on YAP, visit

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