Spokane At-Risk Youth Referral Program
Volunteers of America Eastern Washington & Northern Idaho (VOA) in partnership with the Spokane Violent Crime Gang Enforcement Team have created the Spokane At-Risk Youth Referral Program (SARYRP). The goal of this program is to deliver services and resources to Spokane youth for the purposes of the intervention and prevention of youth gang-involvement and violence.
This program fills a gap of services for youth who are at-risk of gang involvement or who are only marginally involved in gang activities. Many youth are drawn to gangs because gangs provide a sense of belonging, identity and self-worth that is lacking in their lives. Through the SARYRP youth will gain access to resources in their communities and be offered Positive Youth Development opportunities to help build their assets.
Referrals are made by street officers, school resource officers and deputies, gang unit officers and investigators when they come in contact with at-risk youth and/or parents and guardians of these kids. The referrals are handed over to VOA and a specially trained counselor contacts the youth and/or parents to determine what services are needed.