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YAP honors students and volunteers

Beth Corley received the Mentor of the Year Award for her work with the Shelby County Youth Assistance Program for at-risk young people. Presentingherwith the honor duringthe organization’s 2018 awards ceremony at Girls Inc.wereMelissa O’Connor, early intervention advocate with YAP, and Warren Robison, president of the YAP board of directors.

By JOHN WALKER - jwalker@shelbynews.com

Smiles were abundant as the Shelby County Youth Assistance Program celebrated completion of its second year by honoring those who’ve helped make it a success.

YAP Board President Warren Robison welcomed some 80 people to an awards ceremony for volunteers and tutors held at Girls Inc.

Robison noted that two years of planning preceded launching YAP in 2015.

“I really appreciate all the work everyone’s put into the Youth Assistance Program,” said Melissa O’Connor, early intervention advocate with YAP. 

The program works with youth ages 3 to 17 and their families who face challenges that put the kids at risk for substance abuse, dropping out of school and getting in trouble with the law.

Since the group began accepting young people into the program in March 2016, YAP has processed more than 175 referrals which come from all the school systems in Shelby County as well as other public agencies.

Because of that growth, the group needs help, Robison told the audience at the awards event Thursday night.

“We need mentors, and we need tutors,” he said.

YAP board member Marcy Patrick-Runnebohm, an ordained deacon of the United Methodist Church and former pastor in Waldron, spoke about how she became involved in the program.

After her first husband passed away and she lost three other close family members in a few years time, Patrick-Runnebohm said she sought a new direction.

Then a friend told her about the Youth Assistance Program.

“I loved what I heard and saw,” Patrick-Runnebohm said before leading the crowd in chanting “Y - A - P!”

At the awards ceremony, several of the kids in the program received award certificates for participating. In addition:

n Hope Fenton was named Outstanding Tutor and Volunteer.

n Beth Corley received the Mentor of the Year Award.

n Linda Hanahan got the Tutor of the Year Award.

n Missy DuVall won the Volunteer of the Year Award.

To volunteer as a tutor or mentor for the Youth Assistance Program, contact Melissa O’Connor at 317-421-8141.

Application forms are available online at www.shelbycountyyap.org.