For these Advocates, ‘tis the Season to Celebrate Youth Success

LaShay Lucas, Chatham Academy graduation day with YAP Advocate Raquel Kid

At Chicago Youth  Advocate Programs, (YAP) Inc., staff celebrate the successes of youth they serve the same way they do with their own kids’ accomplishments. For proms, graduations and other milestones, YAP staff show up in a big way.

YAP began in Chicago more than 13 years ago, as a community-based alternative to youth incarceration and other out-of-home placements. While the nonprofit continues to work with young people referred by local youth justice and social services systems, it also partners with schools and other organizations working to keep young people safe and reduce violence in the city.

Alliyah Maxwell, Chatham Academy Honor Roll student, graduation day

YAP empowers youth by assigning them to paid Advocate mentors from their neighborhoods who are trained to help young people identify and realize their unique strengths while connecting them and their parents/guardians to tools to help firm their foundation. Many of YAP’s leaders got their start as Advocates.

Aahnevia Brown, Chatham Academy graduation day with YAP Advocate Raquel Kid

“We believe even the most challenging needs of individuals and families can safely and most effectively be met within a home and community setting and that every individual possesses strengths, potential, interests and talents that make them unique and can be built upon and shared,” said YAP Midwest Region Vice President David Williams. “As members of the team, we’re all YAP Advocates who share our personal and professional connections to help our teammates have every possible resource to support our youth and families.”

Reggie Grayson, Chatham Academy graduation day with YAP Assistant Director Renatta Spann & YAP Director Chris Sutton

YAP’s neighborhood-based Advocates deliver individualized, family-focused, strength-based services.

Brianna Ewing, Excel Englewood prom night with YAP Director Chris Sutton and YAP Advocate Nicole Alleyne

YAP believes that everyone needs access to positive people, places and activities within their community to develop their natural potential and live full, productive lives; that partnering with families to identify their needs and preferences preserves dignity and improves outcomes; and that investing in community-based programming is a cost-effective, responsible alternative to out of home placements. Learn more about YAP at

Alliyah Maxwell, Chatham Academy Honor Roll student, graduation day

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