This week’s United Way agency is the Bryan County Youth Services. The Bryan County Youth Services is a system of programs to aid of children who are abused, neglected, or on the streets among other issues.
The youth services program was started in 1971 to meet the needs the youth in Bryan County. The system offers several programs including an emergency youth shelter, a juvenile detention facility, a first time offender program and outreach counseling.
A majority of the children in these programs are runaways, living on the streets, picked up by police or referred by either DHS Child Welfare or by parents said Stanley Hopkins.
Hopkins said when the program started many children were picked up by police when they were caught in situation they should not have been in, such being with people on drugs or committing crimes.
He said the police would take the adults to jail, but had nothing to do with the children.
When the program started the police could take the children to the Youth Services until their proper home was found or the situation handled. He said this is still not uncommon.
The program is governed by a 10 member board of directors and employs approximately 33 people at least 21 years of age or older.
Who is Bryan County Youth Services? The program is a “caring group of people” said Hopkins. He said it is made up of people who care about kids and want to help them.
Who does Bryan County Youth Services Serve? The program serves youth from infancy to 18 years of age. The detention center serves youth from 11 years of age to 18.
Hopkins said the agency takes referrals from OKDHS, JSU, and parents as well. The program also serves youth from adjoining counties.
What is Bryan County Youth Service’s goal for Bryan County? Hopkins said the goal is to provide a safe place for the Bryan County youth to go.
He said the program wants to make sure kids are safe and free of harm and have a temporary home until they can find a permanent home.
How can Bryan County help? Hopkins said like any nonprofit organization, the program needs donations.
Donations can be monetary or supplies. Hopkins said that the program receives great support from the community.
To contact the Bryan County Youth Services to donate get information or refer a child in need call (580) 924-6263. The Bryan County Youth Services office is open 24 hours a day 7 days a week.