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SCV Youth Project is a friend to teens

Posted: September 29, 2013 12:48 p.m.
Updated: September 29, 2013 12:48 p.m.
 

One of the things that sets the Santa Clarita Valley apart from other demographically similar communities is our desire to serve others. The concrete evidence of that desire is the plethora of nonprofits in this community.

At one time more than 100 such organizations were in the SCV to serve youngsters, teens, parents, the divorced and bereaved, the abused, the alone, those who can’t afford health care, the ailing and the aging.

But these are tough times for nonprofits, and while economists may tell us the recession is over, in our everyday lives its impact continues.

One of the manifestations of that impact is less giving. Ask most any church and it will tell you giving is down; the same is the case for nonprofits.

Perhaps one may argue that a little culling in their numbers is a good thing because it eliminates duplication and allows the most effective to claim the lion’s share of donated funds.

But measuring a nonprofit’s effectiveness can be a tricky thing, especially if the nonprofit deliberately shuns the spotlight because its management believes that makes it more effective.

Such is the case of the SCV Youth Project, a 13-year-old nonprofit providing counseling services to students at 10 William S. Hart Union High School District campuses this fall.

If you have a child who’s gone through Hart district schools in the past 13 years, there’s a good chance he or she benefited from this program.

But I never heard of, nor wrote a check for, the SCV Youth Project, you are likely to say.
Exactly.

The program offers services on campus to students without demanding a prior assessment of needs, without any insurance requirements to be met, without any cost to the student or his or her guardian.

It works with the individual school to tailor programs to that school’s students’ needs with counselors present on campus every day to help 12- to 18-year-olds with everything from crisis intervention counseling to pizza parties aimed at helping develop socialization skills.

Support groups, peer mentoring, referrals to other agencies for serious problems like mental health or drug abuse — this nonprofit fills a preventive role in our schools.

Its main goal is meeting students’ needs before they arrive on the radar screens of drug treatment programs like Action, mental health service programs like the SCV Child & Family Center, pregnancy intervention services like the SCV Pregnancy Center.

Its success is tough to measure. How does one determine the number of kids who didn’t take drugs because of a group discussion led by an SCV Youth Project counselor? How many kids found an alternative to cutting themselves before the self-destructive behavior caused more serious problems? How many kids chose to avoid sex or practice safe sex before they became pregnant or infected with AIDS?

These are the issues the SCV Youth Project deals with. The heroin crisis has taught us not to say to ourselves, “that couldn’t happen here.” These and worse things inhabit the lives of teens right here, and the SCV Youth Project is on campus to deal with them.

And to make this happen, the organization needs help from the community. It’s in financial trouble and will not be able to continue its services much longer unless it gets that help.

Like all local nonprofits, the SCV Youth Project has its fundraising event: A “Hold ‘Em Not Hassle ‘Em” poker tournament scheduled Oct. 12 at Valencia Country Club. Information is available at the website www.helpnothassle.org.

But if you’re not into the big-production, often big-ticket fundraising events around town, there’s another way to help SCV Youth Project as grassroots as the organization itself.

For just $24 a month, Santa Clarita Valley residents can join the group’s “Say YES to Youth” support group, helping to ensure the Youth Project’s continued efforts to deal with problems before they become major.
We think it’s a wise investment for everyone with a student in the Hart district.

Tax-deductible donations can be made to SCV Youth Project at P.O. Box 801982. Santa Clarita, CA 91381 or online at www.helpnothassle.org, where more information on the project is also available.

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