Strategies for Youth Inc.

Cambridge, MA   |  www.strategiesforyouth.org

Mission

Strategies for Youth (SFY) is a policy and training organization dedicated to improving interactions and relations between police and youth and to reducing disproportionate minority contact. SFY achieves its mission by equipping officers with knowledge and best practices for working with youth; and by educating youth on how to peacefully navigate their encounters with police. SFY provides police offices with training that integrates instruction in adolescent brain development and best practices for effectively de-escalating interactions with cutting edge research, develops leadership for adopting trauma-informed policing practices within law enforcement agencies, and educates vulnerable youth about their rights and how to respond appropriately to police.

Ruling year info

2010

Principal Officer

Ms. Lisa H. Thurau

Main address

PO Box 390174

Cambridge, MA 02139 USA

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EIN

27-1389973

NTEE code info

Single Organization Support (O11)

Management & Technical Assistance (W02)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Policing the Teen Brain Training

Strategies for Youth, with experts from the Children & Adolescent Psychiatry Department of Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), provides officer training to translate cutting edge psychiatric practice and neurological research about the adolescent brain into practical skills for officers to improve, facilitate, and help de-escalate interactions with children and youth.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

This Strategies for Youth training teaches officers working in schools various methods of positive intervention, without recourse to arrest or use of restraints, and how to work with youth in special education classes. Through interactive lectures, scenario-based examples, and discussions with child and adolescent psychiatrists who are experts in learning disabilities, officers will learn how to identify the behavioral components of such disabilities, intervene successfully with such youth, and promote relationship development between law enforcement, students, and school administrators.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Based on the television game show, Strategies for Youth uses Juvenile Justice Jeopardy to engage youth in important conversations about the juvenile justice system, and the potential consequences of their actions through a scenario-based game. The game offers a framework for conveying consistent information and inviting youth to participate in meaningful dialogue about their views and experiences of the juvenile justice system. The game places special emphasis on how youth can interact positively with police, and what conduct could potentially lead to arrest. The game can be tailored to state law and to the needs of particular communities.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Assessment of a Department's police/ youth relations is conducted to ascertain the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for growth and improvement of police/ youth interactions and violence prevention. Elements of the assessment include extensive interviewing, surveying, and observation of officers, youth, and community leaders. The assessment also focuses on crime statistics for teens, deployment of officers, and organizational distribution of resources to use for working with youth. Each assessment includes review of departmental regulations to insure they are updated and consistent with nationwide standards as set forth by CALEA and IACP.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Our Think About It First! cards were created to educate youth about the potential consequences of arrest and involvement in the juvenile justice system. The cards, often distributed by law enforcement and youth advocates,  provide youth with a summary of laws regarding distribution of juvenile arrest and court records.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SFY's goals are to:1) reduce incidences of unnecessary arrests and violence during encounters between police and youth;2) increase police's arsenal of strategies for effectively de-escalating potentially violent interactions with youths;3) increase partnerships and communication between police and youth-serving organizations within a community so as to increase alternatives to arrest and services/programs serving vulnerable youth;4) greater legitimacy of police within a community, particularly in communities of color; and increased engagement of families, youth, and community-based organizations in maintaining public safety; 5)  Reduce the overall incidences of violence and crime and increase sense of safety and order within communities through improved relations and stronger communication between police, families, and youth;6) Re-orientation of the role of policing within a community so that public safety, improved outcomes of youth, and reduced violence are the metrics used to define success;7) Adoption of a trauma-informed, developmentally appropriate policing approach nationally, where arrest is viewed as the last, not first, resort.

Strategies for Youth seeks to change the
quality of police youth interactions through an integrated series of strategies
that include: 1) Dual training/education programs—one for police (Policing the Teen Brain) and one for youth (Juvenile Justice Jeopardy). From both perspectives, SFY seeks the same overall goal: to increase understanding and improve communication between police and youth, so as to reduce unnecessary violence and arrests. 2) Engaging youth-serving organizations located within the community in this effort, and encouraging partnerships between them and the police so as to improve outcomes for vulnerable youth; 3) Working with advocacy groups at the state and national level to advance policies promoting a trauma-informed, developmentally appropriate orientation to policing; 4) Working with police agencies to provide technical assistance, and develop standards, policies and practices reflecting best practices for policing of youth; 5) Increasing public support for a re-oriented approach to policing through original research, written reports, op eds, media appearances, presentations at conference and other public events. 6) Becoming a national thought-leader and go-to resource on best practices for policing of youth 7) Developing related training programs based upon feedback that we receive from communities. These include developing and offering a separate program for School Resource Officers, a campaign entitled “In the Presence of Children” aimed at reducing the trauma youth experience upon observing a parent’s arrest and “Parenting the Teen Brain,” which teaches parents how to avoid escalating interactions with their adolescent children and reduce reliance upon law enforcement to respond to these interactions.

1. Exceptionally talented, dedicated, and capable staff who manage each component of the overall program;2. A strong national network of relationships with police organizations, advocacy groups, and youth-serving organizations;3. A growing reputation as experts in this field among media organizations, youth-serving organizations, and philanthropic organizations;4. Increasing operating budget based on contracts, individual and institutional gifts;5. Pro bono assistance from national law firms that allow us to conduct rigorous research on selected topics.

Our ultimate goal is to change the orientation of policing in every district and county in the country toward a developmentally-appropriate, trauma-informed approach where arrest is considered the last, not first, resort.  This would also mean that all police officers received training in adolescent psychology, brain science and de-escalation strategies, and were recruited, promoted, and evaluated on their ability to successfully master these strategies.  While we have a long way to go to realize this goal across the country, we continue to make steady progress toward reaching a growing number of youth and police officers, and toward making steady improvements in the quality of our training, as reflected by surveys and feedback.  The data we receive from individual counties and districts on arrests also indicate that our trainings are having the desired effect of reducing police reliance upon arrests and increasing their partnerships with youth-serving organizations located in the community.

Financials

Strategies for Youth Inc.
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
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  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Strategies for Youth Inc.

Board of directors
as of 11/23/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Stephen Landsman

Law Offices of Stephen A. Landsman

Term: 2014 - 2017

Lisa Thurau

Strategies for Youth

Peter Alvarez

Choate, Hall & Stewart

Kevin Bethel

Stoneleigh Foundation, former Deputy Police Commissioner, Philadelphia

Kyong Kim

Holland & Knight

Stephen Landsman

Law Offices of Stephen A. Landsman

Ian Lanoff

Groom Law Group

Deborah Lashley

Consultant

Susan Lowe

Home HealthCare Hospice & Community Services

Gary Simson

Mercer University

Robert Haas

Chief of Police (ret), Cambridge MA

Robert Clark

Retired

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? No
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes