Youth Advocates, Inc.
Youth Advocates is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization that has been around since 1988, providing assistance and support to young people throughout the Houston area in a variety of ways. YA is committed to moving young people toward positive futures.
What is YA?
YA is an innovative youth development organization based in Houston, Texas. Since 1988, Youth Advocates has been building a positive youth community for young people in Texas. YA utilizes hip-hop as its central organizing principle, employing a vernacular that young people appreciate. The ethos of this community promotes autonomy, independent thinking, and creativity, and builds unconventional opportunities for growth and self-expression. Within this culture, YA establishes a norm of affection that connects disenfranchised young people to adults and to each other in constructive and discernable ways. Eliminating geographical and ethnic boundaries, YA creates a large circle of friends, joined by the common values of love, acceptance, and mutual respect. As our young people open themselves to new ways of thinking, their negative behavior patterns--and their hopelessness--fall away and are replaced by healthier, more proactive modes of activity.
What are YA's goals?
YA strives to break each youth's cycle of destructive behavior by replacing his/her negative activities with membership in a youth community. Within this context YA offers support and guidance in a positive, nonthreatening atmosphere. In all interactions, the young person's needs and perspective are at the forefront, so that no work takes place that does not advance the interests of the youth.
What services does YA offer?
YA offers educational support and tutoring, positive alternative activities, substance abuse education, life skills training, job search assistance, and as needed, individual and group counseling. The encouragement of adults and the support of peers make it possible for YA members to transform themselves into pragmatic adults ready to contribute to the improvement of their society.
What makes YA unique?
YA uses a detached worker model of service that operates directly on the streets and in clients' homes. YA's advocates build a solid relationship with each client, and use that relationship as the springboard for larger life changes. YA's success continues to be strong, with nearly 75% of our clients returning to some educational setting, and almost 90% avoiding further trouble with the law following their admission to this program.
YA is known for its break dancers. How did this get started?
In 1996, three YA members became interested in break dancing and started practicing on their own. After a few weeks, they started practicing in the YA offices, and inviting their friends to come by. More and more young people began coming to YA to watch and practice break dancing, until in early 1997 the numbers had swelled to over 50 dancers. The small office building we were occupying could not support that many people at one time, so YA rented the IAM&AW Local 12 Union Hall. Our first YA Night was held on a Thursday night in February 1997, and was attended by more than 100 people. In 2007, YA moved to Southwest Houston and expanded the number of YA Nights. YA now has three YA Nights a week, held in different locations. Mondays we are at Gethsemane United Methodist Church, 6856 Bellaire Blvd. Tuesdays we are at Trinity Episcopal Church in Mid-Town at 1015 Holman Ave. Thursday YA Nights continue to be our biggest gathering, during the school year we are at Jane Long Middle School, 6501 Bellaire Blvd and in the summer we are at Trinity Episcopal Church.
How can I get the YA Dancers to perform at my location?
YA's break dancers are available for performances at schools, community centers, churches, after-school programs, and other family-oriented events. To schedule a performance, call YA at (713) 300-8301 or email email@example.com.
Youth Advocates has a very successful, nationally-known soccer program?
Youth Advocates Football Club (YAFC) has the motto of "Winning with honor and respect." Established in 2007, YA's soccer club, Youth Advocates Football Club known as YAFC, took YA's successful intervention methods and applied it to the development of a soccer club. This season, YAFC has three youth teams playing in the South Texas Youth Soccer Association: an Under-13 Boys team, an Under-15 Boys team, an Under-19 Boys team. Our highest level team is a Men's Team playing in Division 1 of the Houston Football Association. Starting Summer 2010 YAFC will for the first time have a Co-Ed Team playing in Division 1 of the Houston Womens Soccer Association. We have plans for more teams next season.
YA is a non-profit organization creating a youth-centered community built on love and acceptance that allows for intervention, guidance, self expression, and alternative activities.