History of Youth Services

Six years before Youth Services was founded in 1972, citizen groups in Windham County were already discussing their concerns surrounding the growing problems of area youth. A number of initiatives were undertaken to improve the relationship between young people and law enforcement; however, youth-related problems continued to grow. Following a number of efforts toward intervention, the Youth Services Commission (now Youth Services, Inc.) was incorporated as a nonprofit organization, dependent in part on local fundraising.

Everyone benefits when children reach their potential. At Youth Services we provide stepping stones for local youth as they grow and catch those who stumble. We assist families to help their young men and women choose healthy behaviors while discovering their own path to adulthood.

This is the premise upon which Youth Services began in our community nearly 50 years ago. This is the premise that lies behind its eight comprehensive programs serving 1,500 children, teens, adults and families last year.

Significant Dates

1972  Youth Services Commission incorporated.

1975 Big Brothers Big Sisters, the nation’s premiere mentoring program, joins the agency.

1977 Family and youth counseling services added to the agency with an emphasis on prevention.

1979 Court Diversion Program formally established under Vermont’s Attorney General.

1982 Youth Services joins the Vermont Coalition of Runaway Youth Programs.

1986 With expansion of programs, Youth Services relocates to a larger office at 32 Walnut Street.

1987 Counselors visit families in crisis to provide guidance where children risk foster placement.

1990 Created a ninth Diversion Board to serve offenders in the Wilmington and Dover areas.

1992 Brattleboro Area Prevention Coalition formed to help prevent substance abuse among teens.

1994 Student Assistance Professionals stress prevention work in area high and middle schools.

1998 Provided mediation to families and youth in crisis, and outreach to teens experiencing difficulties.

2000 Satellite office opened at Parks Place Community Center in Bellows Falls.

2003 Big Brothers Big Sisters expands to Deerfield and West River Valleys, Bellows Falls.

2006 H.E.Y.! Help Empower Youth promotes teen assets development and adult attitude shift.

2007 Bellows Falls families with at-risk teens “wrapped” in services through weekly home visits.

2008 Summer employment project piloted for six-weeks in Bellows Falls with agricultural focus.

2009 Conducted The Listening Project: Giving Voice to Adolescent Youth Living in Difficult Circumstances.

2010 Approach shifts to therapeutic case management

2011 Pregnant and parenting teens matched with mentors, Young Mom’s Group forms

2012 Career development mentoring lends extra support to high school students through RAMP

2013 Youth shelters for homeless and transitional youth opens doors in Brattleboro and Bellows Falls.

2014 Truancy pilot encourages school attendance through intensive work with families and youth

2015 Restorative Justice expansion adds pre-trial services, supervised visitation and driver’s license suspension programs, serving adults and young adults.

2017 Big Brothers Big Sisters program becomes stand-alone VT non-profit.

2018 Clinical services expand to include substance misuse treatment and outreach.

2019 Youth-led screen-printing business, DemoGraphix launched with high interest.

2020 Work Today piloted as low-barrier, easy access jobs program to address unmet need for people with significant barriers to employment and extreme poverty in Brattleboro.

2021 Brattleboro Community Justice Center merges with Youth Services’ Restorative Justice programs.

2022 Youth Services celebrates 50 years of serving Windham County communities with innovative and relationship-based programs that are a catalyst for change.