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History – Mission – Values

Northeast Kingdom Youth Services (NEKYS) is the leading not-for-profit youth organization responding to the needs of youth and families in Caledonia and Southern Essex Counties.

NEKYS traces its roots back to early 1975, when  a couple of St. Johnsbury Academy school students and community members began to notice that there were many youth living on the streets having little or no access to opportunities afforded to other young people. For various reasons, these youth had nowhere to live and many had no way to survive without resorting to some sort of illegal activity. So in the spring of 1975, the students and community members decided to take action: they opened Northeast Kingdom Youth Services to help homeless youth find supportive and safe places that were off the streets of our communities.

Throughout our 40-year history, NEKYS has built a strong continuum of care to help individuals, youth, and families reach their highest potential. Our accomplishments over the years have been significant: there are no other agencies which offer a similar extent of services with comparable results. Innovation has always been a hallmark of our work, and our intensive strategic planning process has allowed us to build on our success and deepen our impact.

In the coming years we expect continued organizational growth to address the ever changing needs of youth, individuals and families within our community. We are proud of the work we have done but even more so of the accomplishments achieved by those whose lives we have been privileged to touch.

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OUR MISSION: NEKYS creates opportunities within communities for individuals, youth and families to strengthen positive life skills and develop resiliency in the face of adversity.

OUR VALUES: NEKYS takes pride in cultivating an inclusive, welcoming and safe framework from which self-directed supports and services are individualized for each person accessing NEKYS’ programs. We affirm the strengths existing within all individuals, their families and their local communities.

Guiding us in our support and services are the following core values:

  • Appreciation for Relationships– Active collaboration is based on positive role modeling, teamwork, non-judgmentally meeting participants where they are and affirming their natural connections
  • Diversity– We have a responsibility to be responsive to all cultures, experiences, backgrounds, and thoughts
  • Excellence– Our quality of services is enhanced by integrity, compassion, continuous learning, innovation, and sensitivity to lived experiences
  • Person-Centered– We focus on the needs of individuals who have their own views on what’s best for them, therefore all goals are acknowledged, explored and supported
  • Resiliency– We acknowledge the opportunity for growth, even when faced with challenges

NEKYS upholds these core values in our work and promotes them in the community. They represent what we believe in, what we stand for, and how we approach everything we do.