The Carmel Youth Aid Program needs our help

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March 2020

As many supporters of the Carmel Youth Assistance Program (CYAP) know, the fourth annual Carmel: Design Bright Futures gala was scheduled to take place on Saturday, April 25 at the Ritz Charles. Due to the COVID-19 safety protocols in place, the gala has been canceled by its organizers.

Although fundraising has been cancelled, fundraising efforts to support ACAP programs continue. And as the needs of Carmel’s at-risk youth and their families continue to grow during these difficult times, so do the efforts of ACAP staff and volunteers to meet those needs.

But CYAP cannot do it alone and without the help of the community. CAPA is in need of donations and volunteers in order to meet the immediate needs of at-risk Carmel Clay students throughout this time of crisis. Additionally, without gala funding, CYAP will have to rely on the generosity of corporations and individuals to donate money and time to ensure that its programs, such as the Carmel Summer Meals Program, are fully funded this summer.

What is the Carmel Youth Assistance Program?

CYAP was formed in the fall of 2015 to help strengthen youth and families through community involvement. CYAP works in conjunction with the Carmel Clay School District, City of Carmel, and Hamilton County Superior Court and provides crucial support to Carmel children and families in need with programs such as Carmel Summer Meals.

Educating the community about the need for CYAP is just as important in Carmel as anywhere else in Indiana and remains a top priority for CYAP Board Chairman Dr. Bob Youkilis, his Board Members and its staff. As the population of the city grows, the need for CYAP services increases with it.

Currently, there are more children who need ACAP mentors than there are mentors, so the need for people who are available and willing is real and pressing.

Youkilis has been integral to the development of AJP’s mentorship program and has emphasized the importance of reaching children in need long before they reach a point where they put themselves in danger and/or harm. others at risk and end up in the juvenile justice system.

The Carmel Youth Aid Program needs our help

“We probably have 12 or 13 active mentors now,” Youkilis explained. “We really need to double the number of mentors we have now and we would like to increase the number up to 30 [mentors]. We have so many successes with the matches we have, and many of them last longer than the one-year commitment originally requested.

A call to action on behalf of at-risk youth in Carmel

CYAP continues to partner with Carmel Clay Schools as the student body learns from home to meet the emotional, educational, and financial needs of students as much as possible.

Maggie Figge, CYAP’s early intervention advocate, explained that CYAP strives to expedite their processes which, under “normal” circumstances, would take a few weeks.

“Since then [crisis] started, we really focused on helping schools by being a good partner for them,” Figge said. “We prepare schools and support school counselors and social workers with the resources we have. We continue to take referrals and make admissions, obviously over the phone. We’re doing all of this because I don’t think families can wait a few weeks now for resources. »

CYAP mentors get creative with their mentees

“We have recommended and encouraged mentors not to have their face-to-face meetings during this time, but we have encouraged them to use FaceTime or make calls or Skype, use Google Hangouts or whatever they possibly can. do — electronically — and make sure they’re still in touch weekly,” Figge explained. “We’re putting together a list of ways to connect with their mentees virtually. “a party channel where you watch a show or movie with someone and then chat about it afterwards. Mentors and mentees set up virtual games to play with each other.”

A new take on book clubs, Figge mentioned that one of their mentors and mentees reads a book and then discusses it on the phone once a week.

“People who want to become a mentor can still do so,” Figge pointed out. “We can still do our whole process: background check and orientation. We just do [all] virtually and sending them the PowerPoints, talking on the phone or joining a Skype call and things like that in the process.

Please consider donating to CYAP

Carmel Clay Schools held a “food drive” on March 18 for about 600 of its food-insecure students. This number is of particular concern to Figge as they have never had 600 students enrolled in the Carmel Summer Meals program in recent years, but she predicts that they will see their numbers double as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

The Carmel Youth Aid Program needs our help

“We expect the number of students signing up for summer meals to skyrocket this summer,” Figge said. “In anticipation of layoffs and reduced working hours, the needs of our families are likely to affect them longer term than most. If our numbers double from previous years, our budget will obviously double, and in the absence of what would have been raised at the gala, if we don’t receive donations – food or monetary – we may have to reduce [Summer Meals] to a certain number and not be able to help everyone who signs up. Our intention was always never to have to cut it, and hopefully we won’t have to this summer.

For a complete list of resources available to CCS students and family, visit ccs.k12.in.us. For more information about ACAP and to donate or volunteer, please visit youthassistance.org/carmel.

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