BENNINGTON -- Members of the Teens for Change group advocated on behalf of full funding for the Youth In Transition (YIT) program at a Senate Appropriations Public Hearing on April 9. A YIT grant provides funding for Teens for Change and the group is supported by professionals at United Counseling Service.
Teens for Change is a young adult supported and led group whose mission is to connect teens with each other to create change through positive, substance free, community events. The group has the unique ability to reach teenagers because teens are the core of the group, and speak the same language.
Information was presented at the hearing to demonstrate that the YIT program resulted in fewer instances of youth involvement in criminal behavior and the justice system, reduced use of prescription opiates and illegal drugs, along with lowered rates of depression and for treatment of other mental health conditions. There is also a component of the funding which connects young people who are at risk of dropping out of school with the youth outreach program.
Katrina Hollis, who received the first Young Adult Leadership Award from the Vermont YIT program, provided testimony on the positive influence of Teens for Change in the Bennington community.
"I strongly believe in the great work of the Youth In Transition program," said Hollis.
"This grant has brought together so many young adults and Vermonters for the same common goal. The work we do with young people is an investment in the future and is truly rewarding because it makes a difference in our communities."