Since 2014, Youth Transformed for Life (YTL) has offered innovative programming that supports Asheville’s Black and Brown youth to grow and thrive. Here are just a few ways YTL is a life-changing force for Asheville’s young people.
A Commitment to Building a Community of Compassion
YTL’s work is guided by a powerful mission:
YTL Training Programs support disenfranchised communities as they strive to succeed in an inequitable system. As educators, mentors, advocates, and neighbors we create bridges for children and families to overcome the current gaps of disparity. We are guardians of the rights of children and their families, and we will make sure all community members are informed of those rights. By meeting community members where they are, physically and emotionally, we will earn their trust and offer tools they can choose to employ as they work towards prosperity. Our ultimate goal is to cultivate a contagious community of compassion in which all human beings are guaranteed access to proper education, health services, safety, and economic stability.
Holistic Support for Kids and Teens
YTL’s programming is LGBTQ affirming, trauma-informed, and rooted in a vision of equity. YTL staff bring a systems change approach to help youth make sense of their lives. Through this radical approach, youth are supported to understand that the realities of their lives – which may include addiction, homelessness, and mental health challenges – are the result of flawed systems, not broken people. On this foundation, YTL equips youth to reach and exceed their personal, educational, and professional goals.
YTL participants gain communication skills, advocacy training, mentorship, college prep support, mindfulness skills, volunteer experience, tutoring and school support, relationship building opportunities, and a deep felt sense of community. This multi-faceted approach is designed to grow youth’s self-worth and vision for the future.
Innovative and Responsive Programming
Driven by a desire to keep kids connected and to support their learning during the pandemic, YTL reinvented their offerings. YTL created an At Home Learning Assistance Program for online learning. Between 25-30 participants participated daily to stay engaged, even as schools closed. When school reopened, YTL maintained programming for those students who remained remote and transitioned to afterschool programming for participants who returned to the classroom. During the height of the pandemic, YTL hosted an eight week math and reading tutoring program. Participants were able to participate in outdoor activities, too. Additionally, YTL considered the mental health impact of the shutdown on kids, and responded by providing participants access to therapists of color. Over the coming year, YTL hopes to expand this offering to help youth cope with ongoing consequences of the pandemic.
To learn more about YTL’s programs including G.R.AC.E. for Teens Afterschool, R.O.S.E.S and M.O.S.S., G.R.A.C.E for Girls, G.R.A.C.E for Boys, and Advocacy and Outreach, check out this video.