The mission of YouthPlaces (YP) is to develop the skills of young people, and in doing so, increase their opportunity for success. YP focuses on under-served youth and young adults in high-risk communities where few other agencies operate. YP’s high-quality after-school programs engage young people from within their community and are responsive to input and feedback from youth leaders and the communities in which they live.
YouthPlaces, Inc. is one of Pittsburgh’s largest and most effective youth development organizations. For nearly 20 years, YouthPlaces has engaged youth who are frequently left behind, providing them with a pathway to success. Founded in 1997, and incorporated in 2005, YouthPlaces (YP) grew out of the Youth Crime Prevention Council’s desire to provide youth with safe spaces and positive alternatives in neighborhoods affected by violence and inter-generational poverty.
Having recently completed a new strategic plan entitled “Pathways to Success,” YouthPlaces has recommitted its collective resources and energy to walking alongside Pittsburgh’s marginalized youth, guiding them along pathways that promote individual and community success.
YouthPlaces believes that now, more than ever, it is the responsibility of after-school and out-of-school programs to assist in breaking the links between poverty and low-achievement and long term success. For 20 years, YouthPlaces has sought to bridge the divide between the region’s most vulnerable hard to reach youth and the opportunity for high academic and post secondary achievement. YP provides safe spaces for youth to gather in their communities, which offers the opportunity to explore the reasons for low achievement, but also connects them to mentors and activities that promote positive development. In these safe spaces, youth matriculating between the 6th and 12th grades are able to explore their interests, identify options for growth and development and connect to opportunities.
The Pathways to Success continuum of development enables YouthPlaces to serve youth and young adults from age 12 (6th grade) through age 24 (if necessary) that goes beyond traditional after-school program models. Between the grades of 6 and 12, youth can enroll in free after school programs that provide project-based learning activities in college and career readiness (upskilling to the future market demands), academic tutoring, leadership and social development, and long-term health and wellness development. The continuum is also structured so that if any youth and/or young adult between the ages of 16-24 who has obtained a G.E.D. or High School Diploma, but aren’t necessarily college or post-secondary prepared, need training and skill-development in any future trade careers, YP will provide that safety net, so that not succeeding in school or post-graduation does not hinder them from becoming employed with sustainable income.