Tahoe Youth and Family Services turns 30, still has growing pains | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Tahoe Youth and Family Services turns 30, still has growing pains

Jill Darby

Tahoe Youth and Family Services is celebrating 30 years in business.

Founded in 1970, under the name Awakening Peace, Tahoe Youth and Family Services began as a nonprofit organization serving adults and youth.

“It was sort of a drop-in center,” Executive Director Nichole Loftis said.

In 1981, Awakening Peace changed its name to Tahoe Human Services. Tahoe Human Services continued to provide substance abuse counseling for adults.

Ten years later, the nonprofit agency changed its name again, dropped its adult services and began focusing strictly on youth and family counseling.

“We’re trying to help children become responsible adults,” Loftis said. “We’re trying to help adolescents transition into adulthood. And a lot of times our counselors may be the only positive adult role models some of these children, the clients, ever know.”

Services provided at Tahoe Youth and Family Services include crisis intervention, runaway and homeless youth counseling, substance abuse counseling, developmental counseling, youth support groups, parent support groups, peer counseling, mentoring and case management services.

More than 700 South Lake Tahoe residents are served annually by Tahoe Youth and Family Services, which is funded through federal, state and city grants, as well as community donations. But according to Loftis, the agency constantly struggles with a lack of financial support.

“We’re looking for a new facility,” Loftis said. “Since we’ve been around 30 years, we’d really like our own building. We’re renting this one. We need a bigger facility. We get money to provide services but not for the building and not for the supplies. That’s why this Prop. 10 grant is so great.”

Tahoe Youth recently received a $7,000 Proposition 10 grant, which will go to train staff for play therapy and to build a play therapy room. Proposition 10 grants fund agencies which provide services for pregnant women or children from birth to age 5.

Loftis, who took over last year for former Executive Director Teri Mundt, said she is proud of how far the agency has come and has new goals for the future.

“Getting our own building is probably the biggest goal,” she said. “Another goal is to offer more services. We’re just looking to strengthen our place in the community with businesses. And we’d like to be, in some cases we already are, but we’d like to be the leading agency at South Shore for child and family services.”

Within the year, agency officials hope to host a 30th anniversary event.

“We’d like to have it tied to a new building, in a perfect world,” Loftis said.

Anyone interested in making a donation to Tahoe Youth and Family Services may call (530) 541-2445. The agency is also looking for volunteers to participate in the teen mentoring program, as well as people who may be able to provide temporary shelter for runaway and homeless youth.

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