Youth and Family Centers

Centers for youth and families offer many vital services. Sometimes, these centers are the only places a young person or a family can turn to in times of need. The services offered by these centers range from counseling to shelter to employment and financial assistance to education and even childcare.

Counseling services in both youth and family centers can be tailored for individuals or for entire families, sometimes both. They can focus on emotional issues as well as conflicts or addictions. Divorce, death and depression are some of the reasons why someone might seek counseling and these centers provide professionals who can help deal with treatment and solutions to these problems. Counseling services at these centers are confidential and voluntary.

Another important service offered by these centers is assistance in seeking shelter. Some of the centers have shelters available for those in need, while others can help with referrals to organizations that can offer these services. Youth centers in particular usually have runaway assistance programs that offer safe housing options and other support to help young people in this situation feel more comfortable in society again. These programs are not limited to therapy and counseling; they also usually include classes and job training. Runaway programs might also include medical services as well as counseling to convince these youths to leave the streets for safer places. They also usually provide healthy free food and even clothing if needed.

Family centers can also offer employment assistance in the form of GED classes, job training and even programs to facilitate the job-seeking process. Usually, if they don't offer these services, the centers can make referrals to other partner organizations that can provide them. Childcare is also another of the services often provided by family centers, either low-cost or free childcare, usually depending on the family's financial means. The childcare can be all-day care for very young children or before and after-school care for school-aged children. Safe, affordable child-care is vitally important to a family trying to get back on their feet.

Youth and family centers can also offer financial assistance, either through grants or again, by helping people apply for governmental assistance. Some youth centers also might offer financial assistance for education. This can be in the form of college scholarships, directly awarded by the center, or through their help in applying for other scholarships available.

Additionally, most youth and family centers also provide community-building opportunities. These can take many forms. For children, this might mean art and craft or sport classes or perhaps tutoring or life skills classes. These centers also offer many classes for adults. There are usually many volunteering opportunities available and some offer internships. Through all these opportunities, participants can meet other people, helping to make them feel part of a community and prevent feelings of isolation. Family centers sometimes also have specific activities for senior citizens, who might be particularly vulnerable to feeling lost or out of place in a changing world.