YMCA Youth Outreach

YMCA Youth Outreach Programs

Connecting vulnerable young people to healthy resources that inspire, develop, and build their awesome potential by teaching and demonstrating social skills, core values, and the benefits of hard work.


Many of us take for granted the crucial teaching and learning lessons of life that helped us become healthy, hard-working, and happy adults.

For many in our community, basic needs and lessons go un-met:

  • Food, clothing and shelter
  • A stable home environment
  • Healthy behavior and communication modeled throughout their lives
  • Transportation to school, work, after school activities
  • Being taught how to communicate: look people in the eye, present themselves positively, understanding how they are seen by others
  • Birth certificates, social security cards

The YMCA Youth Outreach Programs are engaging young people, overcoming obstacle after obstacle, and working with our whole community to inspire young people to understand their potential and to work for their stability and happiness.

  • Ensuring basic needs are met
  • Teaching social interaction skills
  • Engaging – learning from each other
  • Listening to our young people; understanding their perspective
  • Building a development plan (our “Y.E.P”) to set a path to success
  • Connecting to caring adults in our community – from mentoring to job shadowing
  • Job Training and Placement
  • On-going relationship maintenance, check in and adjustments
  • Charting the work to graduation, jobs, college and careers

Jordan’s Story

It might be easy to miss the dire need some of our great young people have right here in our community.

Until he was referred to us through a secretary in high school, hardly anyone knew what Jordan was going through…

…with more support, Jordan’s incredible perseverance and hard work has earned him his diploma, and college enrollment.

Like many of us, the challenges continue for Jordan. But knowing the network of the YMCA is there, and will always be there, is what we are all about!

John Deere Virtual Reality System Gives Y Outreach Students
Chance To See Future Careers First Hand


YMCA Achievers


  • Director: Tyler Dirschel
  • Program Overview
    • Referral Partners: Schools, Police, Juvenile Justice, Agencies, Businesses
    • Program Development
      1. Engage/Connect: ensure basic needs (food, clothing, shelter, safety)
      2. Prepare To Be Professional: Social skills, confidence, appearance, communication
      3. Work to better self/others
        • Job Training In The Y – Directors, hold accountable, coach
        • Job Training Outside Y – job shadow, field trips, community mentors, group activities
        • Jobs In Community –  real work
        • Career Track – Jobs Grant funds movement toward professional career
    • Metrics and Measures of Success
      • Reduction of Interaction with Police
      • Graduation-Track: grades, attendance, interventions, graduation
      • Career-Track: gain/maintain employment; graduate; college/trade path;
    • Experience The Mission In Action:
      • see “Achievers” at the Y
      • field trips to businesses
      • YMCA/community events
      • volunteer appearances
      • job shadow volunteers and community leaders
    • Achievers Results:

      • 75% Return/Remain in school/GED program
      • 85% Graduation Rate leading to Program Leadership and Jobs as Mentors, Counselors


YMCA Solutions

  • Director: Deshawn Shouts   
  • Program Overview
    • In School
      • Partner with School Leaders
      • 6 Elementary; 3 Junior Highs (as of Aug 1)
      • Impact Goal – 150 students; 500 people
      • Groups, Mentoring/Counseling, before/after school activity, Lunch Buds
    • Out Of School
      • Y.E.P. (Like an “IEP” used in schools)
        • Plan for students/families to encourage engagement
        • Current Y Programs, New Y Drop In Programs, Community Programs, artists, volunteers, groups, etc…
        • Network of partners/opportunities; churches; use Y Shuttle Bus
    • “Virtual” School
      • Responding to the great challenges of COVID-19
      • Solutions team/network teaches families to navigate online learning
      • Increased need for positive interaction/relationships for at-risk kids
      • Use of school work to incentive fun video games, use of computers
    • Metrics and Measures of Success
      • In School: grades, attendance, intervention, reading/math
      • Out of School: Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Improvement
        • ESSA (Federal “Every Student Succeeds Act” triples emphasis on SEL in Iowa; now 30% of state’s focus
        • Student surveys done before each school year/end of summer, and end of school year/beginning of summer
    • Experience The Mission In Action:
      • programs at YMCAs
      • field trips
      • volunteer-led arts, sciences, agency programs
      • lots of volunteer opportunities
  • Solutions Results:

    • 42% increased their GPA
    • 88% increase in reading
    • 76% increase in math at the elementary level
    • 72% of Jr. High students improved in GPA and referrals


Contact our YMCA Outreach Team for any reason:

  • Need help with a student, child, or friend
  • Let’s work together to help more young people
  • We have a problem that could use assistance
  • Arrange for a presentation from our Outreach Team