April 2019 Writer \/\/ Janelle Morrison Photos \/\/ Courtesy of CYAP If you attended last year\u2019s 2nd Annual Carmel Gala: Design Bright Futures, then you already know how much fun attendees are going to have dancing to The Bishops, dining and learning about Carmel Youth Assistance Program (CYAP) at this year\u2019s gala Saturday, April 13 at the 502 East Event Centre inCarmel. The proceeds are used to meet the CYAP\u2019s most pressing needs, helping the most vulnerable children and families in the Carmel community. Carmel Gala: Design Bright Futures CYAP was formed in the fall of 2015 to help strengthen youth and families through community involvement. CYAP works in collaboration with the Carmel Clay School District, City of Carmel and the Hamilton County Superior Court and provides crucial support to Carmel kids and families in need with programs such as Carmel Summer Meals and CYAP. Educating the community about the need for CYAP is just as great in Carmel as it is anywhere else in Indiana and remains a top priority for CYAP Board President Guenter Haines, his board members and staff. In 2018, CYAP received 137 referrals and 107 in 2017. CYAP currently has 102 active cases at the time of this publication. Clearly, as the city\u2019s population grows, the need for CYAP services grows with it. \u201cThere\u2019s an argument to be made that in a community of affluence, if you are a person of need, it is super lonely,\u201d Haines said. \u201cBecause you can\u2019t necessarily turn to your next door neighbor or across the street and find somebody in your similar situation. So where do you go? Who do you tur to? There\u2019s a lot of anonymity in affluence with mental health and with people who are in need, and that\u2019s one of the things that we need to break down and understand better. When you have a population of approximately 90,000, you have at-risk people, and mental health crosses all boundaries. Job loss crosses all boundaries just as healthcare issues do. Any one of those things is significant, but you put two together, and you\u2019re definitely in a situation that can put you in the need of CYAP services.\u201d There are more children who need CYAP mentors than there are mentors, so the need for available and willing people is real and pressing. \u201cIn terms of the support that is provided to the mentoring program, it has grown leaps and bounds since it started a year and a half ago,\u201d shared Maggie Figge, CYAP early intervention advocate. \u201cI think one of our greatest needs is more mentors. In my opinion, mentoring is probably the most crucial support available to a child that is going through A, B or C. If they don\u2019t have a trusting adult and support person who\u2019s going to be there for them, it makes it way more difficult to get that child back on track.\u201d Enjoy many fun activities at the Carmel Gala: Design Bright Futures Figge\u2019s colleague and CYAP Early Intervention Advocate Melissa Yarger added, \u201cSince coming on board in December, I\u2019ve been focusing on supporting our mentors. We have mentor meet-ups where all the mentors of Hamilton County Youth Assistance Programs can get together and swap stories. We hosted our first Mentor Mingle Night at Urban Vines in January, and it was so cool hearing the mentors share their stories. We\u2019re hoping to do more things like that for our mentors.\u201d Three years after establishing, CYAP continues to work at identifying gaps, and if those gaps fall under the mission of CYAP, Haines emphasized that CYAP will fill them. \u201cWe are unwilling to compromise on a child or family that needs our help,\u201d Haines stated. \u201cI think that\u2019s what you\u2019ve seen from us in our first three years with the Mentoring Program and with Carmel Summer Meals. We\u2019re the genesis of those two programs. Now that we\u2019re established, we are really working at proving what we do by having data that shows our ROI to the community and corporate partners. We\u2019re trying to be opportunistic at what\u2019s next for us. We think we have a lot of interest as well as a lot of need in the schools to have a nonprofit partner tackle mental health, so we\u2019re working with Dr. Beresford and his administration to figure out what role we would play in that. We are keeping open minds as we figure out how we can help and be an agent of change for mental health within thecommunity.\u201d When asked about statistics showing that CYAP and other YAPs in Hamilton County have a direct impact on the decreasing number of juvenile detainees at the Juvenile Services Center in Noblesville, Haines replied, \u201cWhen they decided to build the center , it was already at max capacity. The reports show that every time a YAP was established in a community, the daily attendance in the center went down.\u201d Youth Assistance Program Results Don\u2019t miss out on the fun and in helping a good cause for our community. Become a sponsor or purchase a table\/tickets by visiting carmelgala.org. Carmel Monthly is proud to be the returning Magazine Sponsor of this event.