DCIA recognizes work of YO:Durham

May. 21, 2014 @ 09:14 AM

The merger of YO:Durham, which was started by Durham Congregations In Action, and Partners for Youth, another local nonprofit, is almost complete. YO:Durham leaders were recognized at DCIA’s monthly meeting this week, during which resolutions were also passed transferring money from YO:Durham, which received funding from DCIA, to the new venture called Partners for Youth Opportunity. The merger was first announced this past winter and will be official June 30. Both small nonprofits worked with at-risk youth – YO:Durham through internships and job training, and PFY primarily with teenagers in Southwest Durham. Partners for Youth Opportunity will incorporate the missions of both.
YO:Durham program director Susan Blackmon is retiring, and Julie Wells, who leads PFY, will take on the director job of the newly merged organization. Blackmon was honored for her work along with Eric Olson-Getty, YO:Durham’s internship and mentor coordinator. Olson-Getty is moving to Virginia.
“What you’ve shared over the years is beyond evaluation,” said DCIA executive director, the Rev. Spencer Bradford. Blackmon has led YO:Durham since its beginning as a DCIA initiative seven years ago, and Olson-Getty worked there the past six years. Bradford offered his gratitude for their work.
Bradford prayed to God that “we thank you for these who have been stewards of our children.” DCIA members blessed Blackmon and Olson-Getty in their futures as well as Wells in her new role and Olson-Getty’s replacement, Carlton Koonce.
Koonce previously worked at the Durham Voice, the community publication that was also one of YO:Durham’s internship locations.
With Partners for Youth Opportunity, the internship program will be expanded, Koonce said. PYO will focus on work competencies like teamwork, communication and leadership, he said. YO:Durham had served older teens, and now the merged group will serve ages 14 to 19. With more time in the program, leaders will be able to see progress made by the teens. YO:Durham’s Summer Career Academy will continue under Partners for Youth Opportunity.
Bradford also recognized YO:Durham’s previous internship locations including MDC Incorporated, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Core Catering, Self-Help Credit Union, Durham Economic Resource Center and others.
DCIA will transfer all of its YO:Durham funds to Partners for Youth Opportunity this summer, but still be involved in helping support the program.
Bob Newlin, DCIA’s treasurer, said he was on the committee that came up with the idea for YO:Durham a decade ago and was sad to see it go but knows the work will continue as PYO. DCIA members will still get updates on the program and “make sure the dream continues,” he said.
For information about Durham Congregations In Action, visit www.dcia.org.