Youth Equity Project, Inc. (YEP) was created by Burke Law to provide resources and services to youth sentenced to commitment programs through the Department of Juvenile Justice in Florida. Services and resources include: yoga, zumba, theater, dance, educational opportunities, employment skills, life skills, recreation, and therapy. Youth Equity Project, Inc. is a federally recognized 501(c)(3) organization and is currently running its pilot program at Alachua Academy. 


Short-term goals of YEP include partnerships with other nonprofits, businesses, and governmental entities to further the mission of YEP. YEP has partnered with the Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center, YogaLoka, Toastmasters, 4H, and River Phoenix Center for Peacebuilding. Educational opportunities include career advisement from Dr. Kristin Joys, Ph.D. from the University of Florida and mock interviews with McDonalds. YEP partnered with Chief Judge James P. Nilon of the 8th Judicial Circuit to provide opportunities for the youth to ask a judge questions, gain insights into the judicial system, and the explain the impact of criminal records.  These particular services and resources are currently available at the YEP pilot program in Gainesville, Florida. 


Long-term goals include building an equine therapy facility on Alachua Academy property and placing therapeutic horses onsite within the next 5 years. The organization plans to expand YEP to other juvenile commitment programs within 10 years. The pilot program in Alachua County serves  up to 28 females, ages 13-18. YEP plans to expand to male populations after documented success in female populations. 


YEP strives to expand partnerships with organizations across the state to continue serving youth upon release from the commitment program. Returning to the community upon release is the most difficult time for the youth, the best practice to reduce recidivism is to support youth during transition to their placement county. Upon release from a YEP affiliated program, YEP employees and volunteers will make as many connections as possible for youth in their placement county. Local chapters from current partnerships can provide a supportive and familiar community for reintegrating youth. The success of YEP is monitored by tracking community partnerships and youth-beneficiary surveys upon release then annually until adulthood.  


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