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To be the catalyst for change as a community leader in Blaine County in the identification and facilitation of partnership opportunities for youth and adults in building Developmental Assets.
Youth Adult Konnections (YAK!) is a healthy youth development initiative, based on the Developmental Assets philosophy and supported by a coalition of community partners. YAK!, established in 1997, is designed to provide programs and services for young people that help them to grow to be safe, healthy, and active participants in our community. Our mission is to increase the number of Developmental Assets possessed by Blaine County youth. Ultimately, we envision a community in which youth and adult connection is a part of everyday experience and all Blaine County youth are loved, respected and treated with dignity. YAK! is comprised of the Blaine County Youth Partnership (BC YP) - a diverse group of community leaders and organizations dedicated to improving the lives of youth in Blaine County and the Blaine County Teen Advisory Council (BC TAC) which is comprised of over 100 young leaders actively engaged in YAK!'s activities.
YAK! is a community coalition whose prevention efforts are rooted deeply in promoting the positive and healthy development of young adults through meaningful youth and adult interactions and positive alternative activities. YAK! is founded on the fundamentals of the Developmental Assets Philosophy, as delineated by the Search Institute (www.search-institute.org). According to the Search Institute, youth need to have positive influences in their lives, including boundaries and expectations, goals and plans, and positive adult and youth mentors while serving their communities. Research has proven that the more Developmental Assets a young person possesses, the less likely s/he is to use drugs, alcohol, or tobacco, or to participate in juvenile crime and delinquency. For this reason, YAK! promotes safe and healthy lifestyles and activities in an effort to combat and deter students from drugs, alcohol, teen pregnancy, and crime.
Over the last eight years, YAK! has developed a variety of youth services and programs, as well as many sustainable opportunities for community participation in Blaine County for both youth and adults. Last year alone, YAK! achieved over 16,000 contacts with young people in our community through its on-going programs such as community service, leadership conferences, school-based educational panels, after-school programs in both the middle and high schools, and safe Friday night and weekend activities. All programs and services facilitated by YAK! engage young people in all stages of planning and delivery. By partnering with youth in program development and implementation, both youth and adults learn leadership skills, organizational skills, planning and decision making skills, and are endowed with a sense of ownership of and responsibility for the programs.
- Frances Nagashima
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