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Hudson Valley Press

January 15th, 2014

Orange County Youth Bureau Celebrates 35th Anniversary

Jonathan Gomez, 1st Vice President for Youth Advisory Board (left) and Rachel Wilson, Youth Bureau Director (center), are joined by youth attendees representing programs at O/U BOCES.
MIDDLETOWN – For the sixth year in a row, the Orange County Youth Bureau, in partnership with the Youth Advisory Board and United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region, hosted 150 youth, families, and providers to celebrate a year of positive programs and community service.  This year was extra special, as it is also the Youth Bureau’s 35th year in business! A three-time recipient of America’s Promise Alliance’s 100 Best Communities for Young People presented by ING, our award-winning County continues to be a leader in developing and funding innovative work to address the national high school dropout crisis and for its programs and services that make it an outstanding place for youth to live, learn, and grow.

Assemblyman James Skoufis presented a certificate and Senators Bill Larkin and John Bonacic provided proclamations recognizing the Youth Bureau’s contribution to improving the quality of life for the children, youth, and families across the County. For 35 years the Youth Bureau has honored its commitment to young people and the funding and technical support of programs designed to create a safe community and provide leadership opportunities for youth. Youth from programs focusing on bullying prevention through Safe School Ambassadors, skills development with the Girls Scouts, mentoring through Big Brothers Big Sisters, after-school programs providing academic support and enrichment through Boys & Girls Clubs, citizenship and community service through the Middletown Mayor’s Youth Council and Town of Wallkill Police Youth Coalition, and more than a dozen other programs shared and reflected on their experiences.

The Orange County Youth Bureau provides over $400,000 a year to nonprofit organizations and partnerships throughout the County to deliver an array of services, opportunities, and supports to young people. Nonprofits and municipalities complete a rigorous application where they provide details on how their services meet the needs identified by the community. Grantees must demonstrate quality and performance to receive and maintain funding.

In addition, the department, created in 1978, now hosts a variety of projects and initiatives, including the Orange County Children and Family Services Plan; Partners for Children, Youth and Families; Safe School Ambassadors; Juvenile Justice Committee; Successfully Transitioning Youth to Adolescence Program; Youth in Government Day; Orange County Youth Internship Program; Runaway & Homeless Youth Act coordination; and Positive Youth Development trainings for youth workers. 

Once again, the Annual Youth Summit provided a forum for youth, families, and youth workers to come together to celebrate the achievements of the County Youth Bureau, its funded programs, and the youth and families who make Orange County the best place to live, learn, work, and play!

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