A North Texas nonprofit is looking to extend its impact to youth in the justice system in Collin County. 

Youth With Faces has operated in the Dallas area since 2001 to support local youth. The organization's activities have since included providing resources and training for youth in the juvenile justice system — such as life skills and job skills — that will help those returning to their families and communities find success.

The organization has recently announced that it is now providing career education programs with Collin County Juvenile Probation Services. 

“Our youth often come from hard or difficult places and it is critically important to provide them with life and career skills that will help them successfully navigate the challenges they face in their respective circumstances,” said H. Lynn Hadnot, Director Collin County Juvenile Probation Services, in a press release. “The Juvenile Probation Department is excited for the opportunities our kids and families are being afforded with this partnership. The acquired skills, coupled with reentry support services, will change the life trajectory for so many kids and families; foster community protection; and build better and stronger communities.” 

Youth With Faces CEO Chris Quadri said some of the organization's board members are from Collin County, and the move up north seemed to make sense. 

"I know the counties are distinctive, but frankly in all of our partnerships and our services are not particularly hampered by that county line. We have restaurant industry partners and education partners to serve both counties, so it would be a real easy step for us to begin serving the youth in Collin County as well," he said. 

The organization's expansion to Collin County has been in the works since before the COVID-19 pandemic, Quadri said, and it has been operating in the county since February. Since then, Youth With Faces' programming has serviced more than 100 juveniles in Collin County, he said. 

Its services in Collin County include providing a Career Readiness program that runs quarterly, allowing participants to explore career paths.

Dr. Jazminda Ryan, Youth With Faces' director of Programs, said the organization provided a food handling certification class in the previous quarter and is offering a food manager certification class for this quarter. 

"So we’re looking at opportunities to really up the ante for these kids to really give them opportunities that are going to let them go out and get those jobs and to get those higher-paying wages," Ryan told the McKinney Courier-Gazette. 

According to a press release, the program also allows students to get culinary and food safety lessons from professional chefs. 

"The three tenets of our programs are character, connection and capabilities, and so we’re really, really just trying to make sure we’re making a positive impact on these kids and we’re providing them with as much success as possible to not reoffend or to not end up back in the juvenile detention center or worse in prison as adults," Ryan said.  

According to a press release, a third-party study of Youth With Faces programs found that less than 13% of youth who received training returned to juvenile detention while statewide numbers indicated a recidivism rate of 66%. In addition, 75% of those who participate with Youth With Faces got a job within one year after their release. 

Quadri credits that figure to the program's partners. 

"I’ll tell you, that’s really been the secret to getting our kids employed, is it’s local entrepreneurs, local business folks who believe in second chances and want to help the community and find a real pathway to success for our kids," he said.  

Now, Youth With Faces is looking for such partners as well as volunteers in the Collin County area. Contact info@youthwithfaces.org or call 214-926-5344 to learn more. 

 

 

Audrey Henvey is the reporter for the Frisco Enterprise, McKinney Courier-Gazette and Celina Record. Email her with story suggestions at ahenvey@starlocalmedia.com.

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