This is part of a weekly series that highlights the organizations or people behind one of the Foundation’s funds.
“Next thing I knew I was working here,” said McCann, who is Division Director at the agency. “And I love it. I love seeing the positive impact that we have on kids and families.”
The Youth Service Bureau’s mission is to ensure that children and families have opportunities to realize and fulfill their potential for growth and development through their participation in community-based, family-based, and residential programs.
The community-based programs consist of a youth shelter in Bellefonte and Snow Shoe, a Big Brothers Big Sisters program, and outreach programs that include drug and alcohol abuse prevention and other topics.
The family-based programs, which often help families who are on the verge of losing their kids or at risk of being evicted because of home conditions, provide reunification services, parenting education, family group decision making and assistance for families looking to improve their home environment through cleaning and organizing.
Residential programs consist of a boys group home, a girls group home, an independent living facility and a shelter.
Though it’s a diverse collection of programs, they all have one thing in common: They improve people’s lives, McCann said.
The Youth Service Bureau has a fund with the Centre County Community Foundation, and many of its programs are supported by money from the Foundation. These funds have enabled the Youth Service Bureau to take on a number of projects, including summer activities for The Big Brothers Big Sister program, a study of drug and alcohol use and the Project Safe Place Initiative, which provides safe places that kids can go to if they need help and can’t go home.
The Youth Service Bureau began serving Centre County in the late 1960s. Since then, McCann said, the agency has evolved to adapt to changing times and changing community needs. But its goal has remained the same.
“We give kids and families the skills that they need to navigate their way through life in a more healthy and productive way,” McCann said.
For more information about the Youth Service Bureau, all of its programs, and how to get involved, check out their website.