Dr. Bob Youkilis, board chair for the Carmel Youth Assistance Program, believes many issues in society can be addressed by reaching out to youth.
That’s why CYAP is so effective, he said. It’s a preventative program that connects at-risk youth to mentoring and other programs before serious issues occur. It’s proactive instead of reactive.
“We find the earlier we get to children who are having problems, the greater chance we have to change their lives,” he said.
CYAP has come a long way in its almost three years of existence. Previously, CYAP focused on directing youth and their families to resources to help address issues such as slipping grades, financial hardship or behavioral issues. Now, CYAP has developed its own programs — including a summer free lunch program and mentorship opportunities —to address gaps in services that exist in Carmel.
Youkilis said the idea grew out of a program in Westfield. In that city, officials noticed a substantial drop in students in the juvenile corrections systems after the youth assistance program was started, which is not only better for the youth but also saves taxpayer money.
Last year, CYAP held its inaugural gala event at Ritz Charles. The second annual fundraiser will be held there April 28. The band The Bishops is returning. Tickets are $125 per person.
When: 6 to 11 p.m. April 28
Where: Ritz Charles, 12156 N. Meridian St., Carmel
More info: For ticket prices and to register, visit thecarmelgala18.auction-bid.org/microsite