Local Youth Outreach Group Serves Philadelphia Teens

Ashley Parker-Roman

With 23 percent of Philadelphians in the under 18 years of age bracket, the Youth Outreach Adolescent Community Awareness Program (YOACAP) has their work cut out for them. The organization, under partnership with the Urban Affairs Coalition (UAC) works to enhance the quality of life for Philadelphians through community-based and culturally competent interventions.

YOACAP offers a wide array of services ranging from after school activities, and parent education training to HIV and AIDS prevention. YOACAP works with the West Philadelphia, Southwest Philadelphia, North Philadelphia, Frankford and Kensington communities.

Youth specialist Tajuana Wall makes great contributions to the organization through her work with youth, ages 9-18, linking them to the appropriate resources inside and outside of the organization. Wall also assists with tutoring and college preparatory programs while monitoring academic performance, attendance and behavior.

When asked what made her want to work for YOACAP, Wall said, “I have always worked in the community, I have a passion for young people, especially high school-aged youth and teenage girls. I’m a parent and one thing I notice is that you have to push them. They won’t go any further than they are if you don’t. I like to see them tap into their potential; I want them to do well.”

Wall finds her job to be quite rewarding and finds happiness in helping Philadelphia’s youth. When talking about her position she said, “I always tell people that while I don’t make a fortune in my job, I see small things that happen with young people, like seeing a young person’s grades go from a C to an A, those are things that are rewarding to me. This year I had five young people that started working with the organization when I did and now they are away at college and I know I helped get them there.”