YOUTH FIRST INC

Strengthening the lives of youth and families through specialized social work mentoring and evidence-based prevention programs.

Evansville, IN   |  www.youthfirstinc.org

Mission

The mission of Youth First, Inc. is to strengthen youth and families through evidence-based programs that prevent substance abuse, promote healthy behaviors and maximize student success.

Ruling year info

1998

President & CEO

Mrs. Parri Black

Main address

PO Box 3897

Evansville, IN 47737 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

35-2050168

NTEE code info

Other Youth Development N.E.C. (O99)

Alcohol, Drug Abuse (Prevention Only) (F21)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Youth First began in 1998 when an addictions physician was troubled by the number of increasingly younger clients he saw already fighting full-blown addiction. Sensing the need for more effective prevention, he rallied community leaders to study the causes and find effective evidence-based solutions to a complex community problem. Two solutions stood out: community programs to strengthen families and Master's level social workers embedded in area schools. Today, Youth First offers on-site, free-of-charge behavioral health services to give kids and their families the readiness, resiliency and relationship skills to successfully navigate complex challenges like social media, bullying, divorce, suicide, self-harm, substance abuse, domestic violence, poverty and more.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Youth First School Social Work Program

The Youth First Social Work Program is based on a risk and resiliency model of prevention and early intervention. The model focuses on reducing risk factors that create barriers to learning and building protective factors that enhance student well-being. In partnership with schools, Youth First places Master's level social workers in school buildings to deliver prevention strategies across three tiers: universal programs for general audiences, selective sessions for at-risk groups, and indicated work with at-risk individuals.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Adults

Family First uses the Strengthening Families curriculum, which is a SAMHSA approved substance abuse prevention program for youth and parents that focuses on developing strong family bonds.  The program is offered for families with children in the following age groups: 3-6 and 7-17.  This program is offered in collaboration with numerous public and private schools, local churches and other social service agencies.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Adults

Reconnecting Youth (RY) is a school-based, research-proven program designed to reengage students into the school environment. The program’s main objectives are to increase participants’ school performance, decrease drug involvement, and improve mood management. The target
audience includes students in grades 9 through 12 who are at risk for school dropout. The program addresses multiple risks, making it an ideal program for high-risk students. It also encourages and builds school bonding, a protective factor against substance use and poor school performance.

Population(s) Served
Adolescents

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of K-12 youth with access to a Youth First Social Worker or program

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, Students, Teachers

Related Program

Youth First School Social Work Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Total number of students enrolled in all partner schools hosting a Youth First Social Worker in the years indicated.

Number of K-12 youth directly served by a Youth First Social Worker

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, At-risk youth, Students, Teachers

Related Program

Youth First School Social Work Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Total number of K-12 students served by a Youth First Social Worker in a presentation, small group, or one-to-one setting.

Number of crisis interventions

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, At-risk youth, Students

Related Program

Youth First School Social Work Program

Type of Metric

Context - describing the issue we work on

Direction of Success

Decreasing

Context Notes

Total number of K-12 students assisted by a YFSW who has identified threat of serious harm to self, to others, or a third-party harm to the student.

Number of youth given educational presentations

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, At-risk youth, Students

Related Program

Youth First School Social Work Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Number of K-12 students attending educational presentations offered in their school by a Youth First Social Worker in the years indicated

Number of youth in one-to-one caseload care

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, At-risk youth, Students

Related Program

Youth First School Social Work Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Total number of K-12 students offered individualized behavioral mental health services by a Youth First Social Worker in the years indicated

Number of referrals to community resources

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, At-risk youth, Students

Related Program

Youth First School Social Work Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Total number of students receiving referrals from a Youth First Social Worker to a community resource for food, clothing, housing, law enforcement, or mental health treatment in the years indicated.

Number of teacher/staff consultations

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, Students

Related Program

Youth First School Social Work Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Total number of consultations between a Youth First Social Worker and a teacher or staff member regarding a student's well-being in the years indicated

Number of parent consultations

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, Students

Related Program

Youth First School Social Work Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Total number of consultations between a Youth First Social Worker and a parent regarding a student's well-being in the years indicated

Number of student assessments conducted for risk of suicide

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, At-risk youth, Students

Related Program

Youth First School Social Work Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Total number of K-12 students given formal assessment tool for suicide ideation by a Youth First Social Worker in the years indicated

Number of student assessments conducted for risk of substance abuse

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, At-risk youth, Students

Related Program

Youth First School Social Work Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Total number of K-12 students given formal assessment tools for risk of substance of abuse by a Youth First Social Worker in the years indicated

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Youth First's vision is to support communities raising healthy, safe and successful youth and families through a model of service that is measurably effective, financially sustainable, and replicable.

Now in more than 105 schools in Indiana, Youth First's 12 years of independently analyzed data show that this model of prevention and specialized mentoring is decreasing the risk of addiction, suicide, violent behavior and other dangers in Indiana youth. This means increased employability, happiness and health for our future adults.

Through a blended stream of funding with stakeholder buy-in from schools, private donors, and government revenue, Youth First aims for a balance of investment that holds steady over time.

Programmatically, these are our strategies:

1) Build coping skills using proven motivational and strengths-based programs and techniques
2) Connect students and families to local resources, functioning as the extra layer of support for our neediest youth
3) Be present, observing and listening with care.

These strategies adhere to the National Institute on Drug Abuse's prevention principles.

Organizationally, we support the mission by:

1) A steadfast commitment to high professional and moral standards.
2) The trustworthy care of our resources, especially the gifts, talents, and treasure provided by donors, partners, volunteers, and staff.
3) An adherence to evidence-based practices, strong oversight, well-documented results, and continuous quality improvement.
4) Careful and focused planning and decision-making to achieve lasting results.

Our staff of 78 Master's level social workers and 6 program staff facilitate specialized mentoring and prevention programs in over 105 schools across 12 counties. We have the additional support staff of approximately 25 nonprofit professionals who carry out fundraising, administrative and operational tasks. We have a strong board of directors and advisory council who provide key networking and organizational support in fundraising, programming, and administrative areas. Our programs and services are evaluated annually by an independent evaluation firm.

Programmatically, custom-built cloud-based data collection software allows Youth First Social Workers to spend the least amount of time reporting the most comprehensive data on interactions with youth and their families for the purpose of continuously measuring and improving outcomes. Clinical supervision and ongoing training offers Youth First Social Workers, who are embedded individually in schools, a team of support and encouragement that is not only a key factor in service fidelity but also makes Youth First a sought-after employer for social workers in the region.

Organizationally, Youth First's desire to sustain services in its expanding geographic footprint has led to the cultivation of advocacy networks in every county for highly effective "boots on the ground" fundraising.

One measure of our accomplishments is recognition given to the organization and our staff:
1) Featured in the Stanford Social Innovation Review for best practices and sustainability among nonprofits, 2018
2) Highlighted on the Bright Ideas Indiana website, which denotes promising practices by Indiana nonprofits –State of Indiana and Sagamore Institute for Policy Research, 2016
3) Non-Profit of the Year Award, SW Indiana Chamber of Commerce, 2013
4) Founder Dr. William Wooten-Indiana Sagamore of the Wabash Award, 2018
5) President & CEO Parri O. Black-Executive Journey Fellowship, IN Youth Leaders, 2017, Athena Award Recipient, Evansville, 2015, Association for Child and Youth Care Practice Lifetime Achievement Award, 2021


With a focus on strategic planning and revenue generation, Youth First successfully transitioned from the conclusion of several federal grants and the loss of our initial funder's long-term support (The Welborn Foundation). In the process, Youth First built more investment within each of the communities it serves, generating revenue through new fees paid by schools for a service they highly value, along with increased diversity in philanthropic efforts, and ongoing pursuit of government funding.

What's next? Not every school nor every student/family in our footprint has access to Youth First's Social Work services. We are growing every year, but we have more work to do to make this highly impactful service reach everyone. The State of Indiana has requested a proposal for replication of our model to urban areas as well as rural, resource-poor counties. Continuing passion for effective service to future adults is our goal.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Youth First serves Indiana students (grades preschool through 12) through school systems. Families are also served through a menu of proven community programs in partnership with churches and other agencies.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Case management notes, Community meetings/Town halls,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To ensure fidelity to best practices,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    We collected responses on how our organization's brand is perceived and used the feedback to further define our branding and awareness goals and strategies for our 3-year strategic plan.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    We conduct surveys before, during and after our programs. The feedback we get ensures fidelity but also determines whether programs are continued, how they are conducted, and how participants are recruited.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time,

Financials

YOUTH FIRST INC
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

YOUTH FIRST INC

Board of directors
as of 12/06/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Dennis Lamey

Retired Engagement Director - Clifton, Larsen, LLP

Term: 2021 - 2022

Amy Back

Community Volunteer and Parent

Deb Becht

Banterra Bank

Jeff Deig

Retired Executive, PCI Skanska

Phil DeLong

Retired Administrator, Warrick County School Corporation

Leah Dunigan

Independent Philanthropy Professional

Kevin Hammett

President & CEO, Regency Properties

Jeff Happe

President, Happe & Sons Construction

Dan Niemeier

Director of Operations, Azzip Pizza

Christy Walker

First Bank

Cheryl Wathen

Deaconess Health System

Danielle Falconer

VP of Brand Strategy, Element Three

Dennis Lamey

Retired Engagement Director, Clifton, Larsen, Allen, LLP

Kyle Wininger

VP, Harding Shymanski & Company

Yadilka Maldonado

Product Development Manager, Mead Johnson Nutrition

Lauren Kaiser

Director of Human Resources, Tri-State Orthopaedics

Kate Miller

Assistant VP, Community Relations Manager, Old National Bank

Lori Lofton

Business Development Manager, Reference Services, Inc.

Kyle Fields

Founder and CEO, Strategic Deployment Solutions

Ashley Babcock

Director of Prevention, Public Awareness and Meter Reading, CenterPoint Energy, Inc.

Clay Barrett

SVP, Senior Technology and Operation Officer, German American Bank

Andrea Brown

Vice President of Client Engagement, CU NextGen

Craig Fenneman

Owner and CEO, Fenneman and Associates

Rhett Gonterman

Attorney, Gonterman & Meyer Law

Ken Hall

Manager, Fabricated Production, Alcoa Warrick Operation

Dan Hoefling

President, George Koch Sons, LLC

Nona Justice

Community Volunteer and Parent

Chris Mroz

Group Manager, Quality Control Engineering, TMMI, Inc,

Gwynn Perlich

COO/CNO, Ascension St. Vincent Health Evansville

Keith Rawley

Director, Project Management & Procurement, AstraZeneca

Jon Scheer

Financial Advisor, Edward Jones

Allyson Shelby

Associate General Counsel, Berry Global

Jamey Sullivan

SVP, Investments, Sullivan Financial Consulting of Raymond Jones

Lawrence Taylor

Officer and Investment Executive, Fifth Third Bank

Virginia Weiler

Marketing Instructor Emerita, University of Southern Indiana

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 12/1/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Decline to state

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 12/01/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.