The National Youth Recovery Foundation funds and promotes programs and initiatives that increase young people’s access to treatment and aftercare; support students as they continue and complete their educations; help young adults build career and social networks; and remove barriers to their sustained and active recovery. We work with Young People in Recovery (YPR) membership chapters to expand their leadership network in order to mobilize their peers and advocate for the public policy changes they need.
In 2013, we will:
- Award over 15 college scholarships to young people in recovery.
- Work to create more Collegiate Recovery Communities and sober college programs, recovery high schools, and extra-curricular services for young people in recovery.
- Launch 10 new Young People in Recovery (YPR) membership chapters in 10 states, adding 10 a year for the next three years, including virtual chapters for young people in rural areas who live too far away to attend in-person meetings.
- Convene 2 national YPR leadership conferences to provide social and career networking for young people in recovery.
- Advocate for public policy changes focusing on second-chance legislation and improving access for young people in recovery with co-existing mental health issues.
One of the greatest problems faced by young people in recovery is inadequate services and programs at the school-based level. Young people leaving inpatient addiction treatment must have on-ramps that allow them to go back into high school or college; and those undergoing outpatient treatment must have social support if they are to stay free of addiction while remaining in the same academic and social environment where they became addicted in the first place. Without proper support structures in place, young people in recovery cannot continue or complete their educations at the high school or post-secondary levels, nor gain the skills they will need to be ready for the workforce.
NYRF and YPR membership chapters will collaborate with school districts and post-secondary programs to create these support structures such as Recovery Friends Alliance, extracurricular clubs at the high school level that will plan and promote events celebrating a drug- and alcohol-free lifestyle; Collegiate Recovery Communities at the college level that offer academic, social, and psychological support for students in recovery as well as recovery-based housing; and access to vocational and career readiness training for those who do not pursue a college track after high school. NYRF will also provide scholarships for young people pursuing post-secondary education in order to draw public attention towards the accomplishments of young people in recovery, and to support their substantial personal efforts in turning their lives around.
Young People in Recovery (YPR) Membership Chapters:
YPR was created for young people in recovery by young people in recovery. The membership chapters are led by a volunteer and professional staff of young people in recovery and work in coordination with the National Youth Recovery Foundation.
YPR members are dedicated to spreading awareness that young people can and do recover from drug and alcohol addiction. They work to create and expand the support structures young people need to stay in active recovery in their communities, and share their personal stories with the greater community in order to replicate what works best. YPRs will collaborate with school boards, parent-teacher associations, local and state government agencies, the court system, the mental health system and others to promote prevention, treatment, and aftercare support.
A YPR chapter can take many shapes: participants can establish a regular face-to-face meeting, or in areas that are too geographically remote, communicate via conference call, Skype, or social media. Local YPR chapters coordinate with the larger national YPR leadership and NYRF for training and support. National leadership is cultivated from within the local membership chapters, assuring future sustainability as older members ”age out” or move on with their lives.
Typical offerings from a YPR chapter might be: college and career fairs; sober spring break activities; public service such as sitting on a community board, school board, public health group, or criminal justice board; building or upgrading local sober housing; organizing education and awareness events at the local and state level; speaking about recovery in local high schools and middle schools; and more.
Visibility in the public sector is a key component of NYRF’s mission. This will occur on the federal, state, and local levels. NYRF will leverage its numbers by organizing parents, families, and friends of young people in recovery; educators; medical professionals; and others—as well as YPR members—to advocate for the programs and services young people need and to remove barriers that hinder long-term recovery.
On the local level, we would make sure that YPRs and families of young people in recovery are represented in the decision-making groups such as school boards, city planning committees, and other bodies so that young people in recovery will have a voice at the table when important issues like funding for local treatment, aftercare, education programs, job training, or zoning for sober housing are decided.
On the state level, we would develop a strategic drug and alcohol plan for youth in each state by working with existing legislative and regulatory bodies like the Governor’s office and state agencies on drug abuse prevention and treatment as well as local community boards, school boards, healthcare networks and the criminal justice system. Currently, only one state in the nation (Minnesota) has an integrated drug and alcohol plan for youth. NYRF is already in discussion with two states (New York and New Jersey) for creating an integrated plan in these states. As we continue to build our presence nationwide, we hope to assist in creating plans in all 50 states.
On the federal level, we are planning a White House Conference on Young People in Recovery in 2014 or 2015 that would involve all federal agencies that have a role in prevention, treatment, and recovery services for teens and young adults. NYRF would focus its efforts on increasing staffing and funding for positions within federal agencies that focus on recovery, rather than allowing all federal money to be funneled into interdiction and/or incarceration.