Michael Arterberry: Why Youth Advocacy Services Like YVC Are Necessary To Ensure Today’s Youth

Michael Arterberry, Former PBP Radio Guest, Founder of Youth Voices Center, and Author of “God Was Holding My Hand” speaks out about why youth advocacy services like YVC are necessary to ensure today’s you. Michael quoted on how exactly this can be accomplished. Graduation rates in New York State remain lower than the national average. More funding is needed for intervention and dropout prevention programs.Youth Voices Center is a New York based charity that has served over 7,000 teens since its conception in 2008. Founder and Executive Director, MichaelArterberry, createdYVC’s signature program, “Power of Peace,” an anti-violence initiative that enables young people to become skilled at conflict resolution so that their schools and communities are safer. Through its “Power of Peace” experiential workshops,YVC is committed to helping lower the rate of violent incidents in participating schools, and reduce truancy while teaching teens to become productive members of society.FOUNDER MICHAEL ARTERBERRY TRANSFORMS STRUGGLE INTO POSITIVE ACTION THROUGH WORKSHOPSEstablished in 2008, Youth Voices Center, Inc. (YVC) is dedicated to promoting positive youth development among adolescents through its “Power of Peace” program offered in schools, community centers, and youth groups across Westchester, Schenectady, and Columbia counties, and soon to be Connecticut and New York City. The “Power of Peace” program is a conflict resolution and anti-violence initiative focused on developing leadership, teamwork, collaboration, decision-making, respect for others and self, and cultural awareness.

Michael Arterberry, Founder and Executive Director of YVC, created “Power of Peace” as a result of his own childhood spent in poverty. “I lived in an environment, but I did not become that environment.” Seeking out mentors in his hometown of New Rochelle, NY, he realized his success as a teen and as an adult was due largely to the support received from these role models. Over the past 22 years as a social worker and counselor, Michael worked with thousands of teens in a range of settings. He decided to form YVC while working on the Alternative to Violence Project (AVP) in Green Haven Correctional Facility. Realizing the power of this type of experiential program, Michael launched “Power of Peace” for adolescent youth in New York State. Since conception, YVC has served over 7,000 youth.

YVC’s signature program, “Power of Peace,” is a succession of experiential workshops designed to enable young people to become skilled at conflict resolution so that their schools and communities are safer and they can realize their full potential as productive members of society. The program, led by YVC’s trained facilitators, including Michael, is provided to teens over the course of two full school days. On average, 25 students participate in each two-day cycle of the workshop. YVC staff work with the school guidance counselors to schedule as many workshop cycles as needed to reach the targeted number of students. Teachers and staff are encouraged to participate in the workshops as well so that they can share the experience with the students.

In recent years, YVC worked with students in six New York State school districts: Schenectady, Peekskill, Ossining, Port Chester, New Rochelle, and Hudson. Half of these districts are designated by the New York State Education Department as “high-needs” districts, struggling with poverty and low on-time graduation rates. All six school districts, like many urban school districts in our country, are challenged by interpersonal conflicts and violence among students. In total, these six high schools reported 10,331 violent and/or disruptive incidents during the 2012-2013 school year. YVC is committed to help lower the rate of violent incidents in these schools and support students in realizing their full potential. In 2013, YVC served over 1,500 teens at six high schools in Westchester, Schenectady, and Columbia counties. These schools request YVC to return year after year to deliver the “Power of Peace” workshop to new incoming classes. In 2015, YVC will be expanding to schools in New York City and Connecticut.

Youth Voices Center (YVC) founder, Michael Arterberry, will be the commencement speaker for Orchard View Alternative High School (167 Myers Corners Rd, Wappingers Falls, NY 12590) on June 26, 2015 at 9:00AM. Michael’s ability to reach out to, guide and encourage those around him has enabled at-risk teens to thrive in their communities. Recently, Michael was honored at the 100 Men of Color Black Tie Gala event in Hartford, CT. He resides in New Fairfield, CT with his family. www.YouthVoicesCenter.org