By Kierra Pixler, Managing Editor
Central Texas Youth Services is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt nonprofit organization that provides services to runaways, homeless, troubled youth, and their families throughout the Central Texas region. They have been providing services to the Central Texas area since 1970. The agency opened it’s first emergency shelter, Option House, in 1974. This program has since evolved to include emergency services, respite services, and transitional living services for ages 3-17 years.
They have their upcoming 16th Annual Taste of Central Texas fundraiser which will be held at the Bell County Expo Center. The evening will be filled with food, music, dancing, auction items and door prizes, all of which will benefit Central Texas Youth Services effort to help youth homelessness.
“All proceeds go to support the programs of Central Texas Youth Services. We are a non-profit agency that is supported by grants, donations, and fundraising.” said Kami Diaz, Executive Director of CTYS. She has been with the agency for over 12 years in the position of a Case Manager, Program Coordinator, and Director of Client Services. “The majority of our grants require we match a percentage of the funds they award to us. This percentage can range from 10% to 25% that can be matched by in-kind or monetary donations. Overall, for every dollar donated we are eligible to receive an additional $9.00 of grant funding. If we are unable to meet the match requirement we are unable to apply for the grants available.”
All of the money raised goes to help the youth that the program helps house and assist in getting back on their feet and on a successful path.
“Central Texas Youth Services’ programs provides services to homeless and at-risk youth and young adults ages 0-25. The youth we assist have a history of abuse, neglect and exploitation. Many of them are facing homelessness, lack of basic needs and family support. Central Texas Youth Services strives to assist youth through our residential programs providing housing stability and access to educational and employment resources,” said Diaz.
Their current list of programs are as follows:
Option House – Youth shelter services, respite care (ages 3-17) and Transitional Living Program (16-17).
Transitional Living Program (TLP)- Residential housing for homeless youth ages 16-21.
Maternity Group Home Program (MGH)- Residential housing for homeless, pregnant and parenting youth ages 16-21.
Street Outreach for Survival (SOS)- Outreach and community referral services to runaway homeless youth ages 16-25.
Safe Place-Outreach and educational services to youth ages 12-21.
Independent Living Program (ILP)- Residential housing for homeless youth ages 18-21.
Transition Resource Center (TRC)- Transitional services for foster and former foster care youth ages 16-25.
24 Hour Hotline 1.800.421.TEEN (8336)
Those interested in supporting the agency and programs can assist by hosting a donation drive, donating gently used items (agency wishlist is posted on the website), registering for Amazonsmile and selecting Central Texas Youth Services as a recipient, make a donation through their “Donation” link on our agency website.