ALTERNATIVES FOR YOUTH, INC
MISSION: The mission of Alternatives for Youth is to provide effective and efficient prevention and early intervention services to adolescents struggling with alcohol, substance use, and behavioral health issues. We deliver these services with compassion through a multi-systemic treatment approach with the end goal of providing hope, solutions, and a positive pathway towards healing for adolescents and their families.
HISTORY OF THE AGENCY
Alternatives for Youth (AFY) is a non-profit organization that has been working with at-risk youth and families for over 35 years. AFY started in Longmont, CO and over the years has worked largely with Boulder Valley (BVSD) and St Vrain Valley (SVVSD) schools and communities. Since then, we serve teens, parents, and school districts located in Adams County, Denver County, Boulder Valley, and North Metro areas.
In 2009 the Board of Directors of AFY went back to the community and asked them what they thought was the most pressing issue facing our teens. It was unanimous…everyone believed that drugs and alcohol was the top issue facing our youth. They also felt it was important to support the parents of teens struggling with drugs/alcohol. AFY was part of a collaboration of agencies throughout Boulder and Longmont to discuss how best to address the issue. The committee mapped the community and discovered that there were strong prevention programs and treatment options for teens, but the gap was in early intervention. With the encouragement and support of the collaborative, AFY started the iTHRIVE program in April of 2011.
iTHRIVE is an early intervention program for teens 12-17 years of age that are starting down that dangerous path of alcohol and/or drug use/abuse. We also work with the parents/guardians of the participating youth. Referrals come from schools, diversion, probation, other youth and family serving organizations, and families who are worried about their teen find us on-line. Program evaluations show positive changes in teens’ drug use and parents’ ability to manage conflict.
For the first several years, Alternative for Youth (AFY) i-THRIVE served only youth from BVSD and SVVSD, serving as both school districts’ “alternative to suspension”. If a teen is caught on school grounds or at a school event with drugs/alcohol/paraphernalia, they are suspended from school for 5 days…unless they and their parents take the iTHRIVE class, which reduces the suspension to either 2 or 3 days.
Because of the success of the program and the need for our services, i-THRIVE was invited to start serving youth in Adams County. We began with the Diversion program at the 17th Judicial Office, with Levon Hupfer in 2015 and have expanded to working with all of the school districts, including a contract with Adams 12 to serve as their “alternative to suspension/expulsion”. We also receive referrals from municipal courts in Adams County. Because the requests for services in Adams were so prevalent, AFY chose to move from our Longmont office and purchased our new office location in Northglenn, CO moving in January 2, 2017. We continue to provide our services in Boulder and Longmont but felt with the growth in Adams we wanted to physically be here and become actively involved in this community.