Nonprofit Spotlight: Youth Villages

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“I like to remember that the children we serve are a soul first, then they’re a kid, then they’re everything that’s happened to them. If we meet them at that place, it makes a huge impact on how the rest of their lives actually flourish, because we’ve been able to help them at a pivotal time and make a ripple in their pond, so to speak.”

This profound statement comes from Kimmy Yon, the Community Engagement Manager of Youth Villages. While Youth Villages focuses mostly on children, she has, by her own estimates, worked in a variety of nonprofits for the last twenty-five years.

“I am completely fascinated by how our brains and our bodies work as humans, but I’m also fascinated at how our stories are so similar, even if people have had really challenging upbringings, backgrounds, or traumas that have affected them. This work reminds me how much more similar we are as people than we are different.”

That core belief in humanity is a central focus of Youth Villages, which seeks to serve as an avenue of wellness and hope for children and young adults, particularly those with behavioral issues. These issues typically stem from difficult upbringings or traumatic experiences, making their mission of helping children and families live successfully particularly important.

“Our residential program is on the Inner Harbour campus in Douglasville, on roughly 1200 acres of land. We are home to 128 children, from the ages of 6 to 18, who primarily are in the foster care system, and who are with us for pretty intensive level treatment.”

The Inner Harbour campus serves as a home away from home for these children, who engage in activities such as art classes, canoeing, and West African drumming, just to name a few. These activities are chosen with their therapeutic effects in mind, while still allowing the kids to be kids. Counselors, teachers and staff members specialize in presenting new ways for children to deal with their emotions and improve the relationships with those around them.

“I think the thing that has kept me at Youth Villages is that I respect and appreciate the people that I get to work with. I love seeing how passionate they are, how committed they are to being able to help the kids who are in our care and their families and understand that it’s much bigger than just us, but when we all do our part, that it makes an enormous difference.”

Paul’s community involvement is what led him to find out about Youth Villages, and Dee Dee followed soon after. Paul has now served as a mentor to many of the youth at the campus.

“Paul is just a really good human. Very inquisitive, very knowledgeable and very curious. He had so many questions to ask about our organization and what our kids were doing. The way he cares about what happens to and for our kids makes him an exceptional champion for our mission.”

We’re proud to help Youth Villages, and in particular the Inner Harbour Campus in Douglasville, through our time and monetary donations. If you would like to learn more about Youth Villages or find out how to help, please visit their website.

“[The Zachos Team] has just always been incredibly supportive, whether it’s helping us bring other people to campus, or helping us craft our advocacy events and getting more people involved and sharing the mission.”

“I genuinely appreciate all of their support.”

Written by Paul Zachos