Overview of Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development

OUR MISSION

To provide a safe space for collaborating with youth and young adults in our community who are vulnerable or experiencing homelessness. These safe spaces will allow access to caring relationships, resources, and programs that offer opportunities for young people to develop their individual potential.

POPULATION SERVED

Males and females ages 12 to 25 in Maricopa County Homeless, Runaway, Conduct disordered, Abused, Abandoned, Troubled, Neglected, At-risk for any of the above.

VISION

That every young person is valued, has a safe place to live, and the support necessary to grow and thrive.

Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development uses the Positive Youth Development model as the framework for fulfilling its mission and goals in serving Maricopa County’s youth.

Youth Development…

• Is a process that prepares young people to meet the challenges of adolescence and adulthood through a coordinated, progressive series of activities and experiences which help them to become socially, morally, emotionally, physically and cognitively competent. It addresses the broader developmental needs of youth, in contrast to deficit-based models, which focus solely on youth problems.

• Refers to an ongoing growth process in which all youths endeavor to meet their basic needs for safety, caring relationships and connections to the larger community, while also striving to build academic, vocational, personal and social skills.

• Strives to help young people develop the inner resources and skills they need to cope with pressures that might lead to unhealthy and antisocial behaviors. Prevention of undesirable behaviors is one outcome of positive youth development, but there are others including the production of self-reliant, self-confident, adults who can become responsible members of
society.


Tumbleweed uses this model because the homeless teens that come to us for services fall victim to a negative self-identity by way of the risk factors in their environment, having their problems pointed out or being labeled “problem” or “at risk” and receiving traditional problem centered services. Youth Development is an asset based model that emphasizes strengths rather than deficits. Youth are involved as collaborators in their own plan and development.


The environmental influences that promote resiliency in youth are:

1. Caring and Supportive Relationships
Is a process that prepares young people to meet the challenges of adolescence and adulthood through a coordinated, progressive series of activities and experiences which help them to become socially, morally, emotionally, physically and cognitively competent. It addresses the broader developmental needs of youth, in contrast to deficit-based models, which focus solely on youth problems.

2. High Expectations
Refers to an ongoing growth process in which all youths endeavor to meet their basic needs for safety, caring relationships and connections to the larger community,while also striving to build academic, vocational, personal and social skills.

3. Opportunities for Participation
Strives to help young people develop the inner resources and skills they need to cope with pressures that might lead to unhealthy and antisocial behaviors. Prevention of undesirable behaviors is one outcome of positive youth development, but there are others including the production of self-reliant, self-confident, adults who can become responsible members of society.


Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development, established in 1972, touches the lives of over 3,000 youth (ages 12 to 25) annually provides the following services:

• Emergency shelter
• Transitional living
• Counseling
• Skill development
• Education and employment assistance
• Family reunification using Functional Family Therapy (a Best   Practices counseling model)
• Independent living skills training
• Street outreach and drop-in center resources in Tempe and    Phoenix for homeless youth
• A community Learning Center – a certified school, vocational and work placement center
• Tumbleweed also partners in five collaborations that provide prevention and early intervention to at risk youth and their families primarily in the Greater Phoenix Area.