A Message from the Executive Director

Friends,

I have some very important news about the future of CYD. We need your support now more than ever.

Since 1996, with the support of the Sarasota County community, CYD has engaged middle and high school students in life-changing programs that have prepared them for success in school, work and life. Our signature programs, STAR (Students Take Active Roles) Leadership Training and SRQVolunteen, have helped young people to find their voices and develop the confidence and skills that serve them in the present and will continue to do so well into the future.

One of CYD’s greatest strengths has been the ability to adapt to change. Our commitment has always been to serve teens by providing the best services in the most cost-efficient way possible.

Our own model was an evolution – from an organization focused on helping teens make positive choices by offering safe, supervised, drug- and alcohol-free events throughout Sarasota County into the field of youth development. Another adaptation was just as radical: until 2009, our programs were run under the umbrella of other nonprofits serving youth. However, in 2010 there were no available partners to run the programs so Community Youth Development was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, in order that the programs might continue.

Over 20 years, Sarasota County has seen tremendous changes. Massive growth has led to a shift in community needs and priorities. Economic realities have forced everyone to make difficult decisions. For CYD, the time has come for yet another evolution. After significant research, evaluation, and discussion, CYD’s leadership has come to the conclusion that – while our programs continue to provide positive outcomes for youth – running a separate organization is not sustainable.

At this time, CYD is seeking a local nonprofit agency to take over our nationally-recognized programs in order to ensure their continued availability for Sarasota County youth. We have always felt that our programs were born of and belonged to the community. Our board believes we can best serve local youth by finding a partner who can assure the programs will continue with the quality and care the community has come to expect from them.

The STAR Leadership Training and SRQVolunteen programs have impacted thousands of teens. Participating in these programs has led youth to become active members of their community – allowing them to build skills and gain experiences that will stay with them throughout their lives. Graduates point to these programs as critical pieces of their success in college and careers. And we know from the response of the community partners that these programs are working because our alumni are seen as vital resources in addressing community issues and supporting numerous organizations. CYD graduates are returning to Sarasota County, investing in the community as entrepreneurs, professionals, and citizens – choosing this community to raise their own families.

We are confident that we will soon be able to share news of a new partner and look forward to what the future brings. We thank you for your understanding as we move through this latest evolution, and appreciate your continued support. Please do not hesitate to call me at (941) 922-5126 if you have any questions or concerns to share.

Sincerely,

KB