Local program continues to help youth 25 years after its founding

Mar 18, 2016 2:03 PM by News Staff

For the past 25 years, a local non-profit has been doing its best to reach the troubled youth of Butte County.

In March of 1991, Youth for Change first opened its doors as a group home, which housed youth who were taken out of their homes for various reasons, through the years, it has grown into multiple programs.

“We started with group homes and kinda transitioned into foster family services,” said George Siler, Executive Director of Youth for Change. “We ran a school for high needs children for a while but the past 15-16 years we've focused on programs to help prevent kids from taken out of their homes.”

Siler said the need in Butte County for the programs that Youth for Change provides is there and that over the years, the organization has grown to help meet that need.

“Butte County is not a high income county, so we face a lot of children growing up in poverty,” Siler said. “The needs are extremely high and the sooner we can catch kids that can provide early intervention services it helps prevent the need for later expensive out of home care for children.”

Among some of the programs Youth for Change uses to help build trust and confidence is a brand new ropes challenge course built on the property in Paradise.

“(The rope course) teaches kids that are facing trust issues for very obvious reasons,” Siler said. “They teach kids they can do well beyond what they thought they can do and trust adults.”

Employees say often times it will take years to find out the kids they worked with benefitted from the programs but hearing those stories makes it all worthwhile.

“It’s nice to hear from people from 25 ago,” said Rosemary Kelly, a 25-year employee of the Youth for Change program, “and know you made a little bit of a difference somewhere along the way.”

“The work is really, really tough but nothing more rewarding than to see those part of our program make tremendous progress,” Siler said.

The ropes course in paradise is open to reservations for groups of any size. To reserve the course, just contact the Youth for Change office.


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