South Carolina Youth Advocate Programs, Inc. Celebrates Clients’ Behavioral Health Triumphs and Announces Plans to Help More People of all Ages

Staff Report From Greenville CEO

Friday, September 14th, 2018

This fall, two dreams come true for Greenville Technical College freshman Victoria Foster, who shares that just four years ago, for the fourth time, she tried to take her own life.

More than anything, Victoria wanted to be healthy. She also hoped to see South Carolina Youth Advocate Programs Inc. -- which she credits for empowering her with tools that strengthened her foundation – expand to reach more people battling behavioral health-related challenges.

“YAP gave me so many resources that other counselors haven’t. They come to your home and you become comfortable,” Victoria said. “The biggest difference with YAP is that they grew a relationship with me, my grandmother and everyone in my support network. They really do have open, good hearts."

Victoria will join others who thank YAP for helping them as she shares her story Sept. 28 at a reception at Greenville Technical College to celebrate South Carolina YAP Inc.’s expansion to serve more adults, as well as children in Greenville, Pickens, Spartanburg, Anderson and surrounding counties. Since the late 1990s, YAP has delivered holistic community-based behavioral health services, primarily serving children and, as an extension, their families, in Greenville, Pickens, Spartanburg, Anderson and surrounding counties. YAP’s behavioral health services include diagnostic assessments, psychotherapy, psychosocial rehabilitation, behavioral modification, family stabilization and crisis management.

“The expansion to serve more adults is a natural extension of our comprehensive continuum of family care. It’s our obligation as an outcomes-based organization to address our communities’ evolving challenges, including adults with a mental health diagnosis or drug addiction, young adults aging out of foster care and individuals who have been exposed to trauma or are struggling with LGBTQ-related issues,” said William Cameron, Program Director, South Carolina Youth Advocate Programs, Inc.

YAP, Inc. is an alternative to institutional placement, delivering behavioral health services, primarily in individuals’ homes. While half those in its South Carolina program in 2017 were in residential treatment facilities when they enrolled in YAP, after completing the program, 97 percent were safely back in our communities with family or close friends.

Victoria said when she attempted suicide, she was battling stress as she struggled to cope with emotional trauma stemming from physical and emotional abuse from a relative. She said following her last suicide attempt on Aug. 24, 2014, she was admitted to a Greenville Hospital where, to her relief, the Department of Social Services concluded that she should live with her grandmother. Soon afterwards, she and her grandmother were introduced to YAP.

“I was emotionally torn down. I was depressed and desperately needed help,” Victoria said. “YAP provided me with counselors, advocates and a wonderful mentor, all who listened to my struggles and ultimately supported me through everything, even my court battle.”

“In addition to and beyond the legal matters, I still had many things to work on. YAP stood by me throughout high school and helped me overcome the emotional battle and trauma I was suffering. With YAP, I knew I wasn't alone, I had people who supported me emotionally and physically with every event I had gone through good and bad,” she said.

Victoria has begun classes at Greenville Technical College for Nursing. She is among the 2018 YAP Tom Jeffers Endowment Fund for Continuing Education scholarship recipients. Named after YAP’s founder and funded primarily by YAP employees, the $1,000 awards go towards helping individuals and family members of those served turn their career hopes and dreams into reality.

“I accomplished more than I ever could have imagined, thanks to YAP. They taught me skills which will truly benefit me and guide me throughout my life,” Victoria said. “Thanks to YAP, I can make a positive difference in people's lives, specifically directed toward children suffering from trauma, abuse, and neglect. I hope to be able to become an advocate for suicide prevention, domestic violence, child abuse, neglect, and sexual assault while earning an income that allows me to help my grandmother retire and enjoy her life without the stress of finances.”

Prior to joining YAP, Inc., Cameron worked in group homes, independent living programs and a high management locked facility. “I knew there had to be a better way. I am happy and proud to say that YAP, Inc. and people like Victoria have proven me right,” he said.

South Carolina YAP, Inc. invites the public to its Sept. 28, 2018 celebration. The organization especially welcomes prospective new employees -- licensed professional counselors who believe in home-based care, have a background in trauma, abuse or neglect and are licensed to provide the CALOCUS assessment.

The Sept. 28 reception takes place 10 am – 11:30 am at the Greenville Technical College Student Center, Building 105, second floor, 506 South Pleasantburg Drive, across the street from YAP’s offices. For more information and to RSVP, please contact wcameron@yapinc.org. Individuals in need of mental health services may contact (864) 232-7532 to schedule an appointment at their convenience.