Youth Thrive is a community-based collaborative comprised of individuals and organizations working to create positive change for Wake County youth (ages 5-18). By ensuring an effective and unifying partnership, Youth Thrives seeks to provide a space for communication, alignment, and sharing of resources to better serve our young people.

When community concern arose after an increase in youth homicides in Wake County, community conversations were led by Dr. James West, then Mayor Pro Tem, (pictured right). As a champion of the cause of ensuring all children can thrive in a healthy environment, Dr. West, now Chair of the Wake County Board of Commissioners, sought to bring key stakeholders together to determine how to solve emerging problems facing Wake County youth.

Local community foundation The John Rex Endowment provided a generous investment of $1.25 million dollars to establish a collaborative that would increase the likelihood of positive outcomes for youth.

Wake County prides itself on being a great place to raise children. It has a vibrant business community and is home to North Carolina’s state capitol. Despite all of the positive factors that contribute to a high quality of life that are present in Wake County, there are issues that need attention. Resources need to be marshalled for a sustained effort to ensure that all young people, no matter what zip code they live in, can become thriving adults.

Today, Youth Thrive continues to serve Wake County by being the collaborative body inviting any and everyone to the table to be a part of a common agenda that speaks to a shared vision for community change. In doing so, Youth Thrive also seeks to determine shared measures that are geared toward the alignment of efforts and consistent, long-term results. While a collaborative effort can often surface where service gaps exist, it is Youth Thrive’s goal to support the increase of mutually reinforcing activities across agencies and organizations serving youth. Where gaps exist, Youth Thrive seeks to determine how existing or potential resources can be obtained to catch those young people slipping through the cracks. Because this effort requires the input and involvement of many, Youth Thrive serves as a communicator for the community and for youth-serving professionals and organizations. We want to be a voice for young people's needs and help those who serve young people to share their voice as well.

Youth Thrive is an independent organization that is housed at the United Way of the Greater Triangle. This relationship provides Youth Thrive with the opportunity to remain a neutral party and a place for this collective voice to grow and be nurtured.

  1. Collect and share data: Measure and provide data on program capacity and participation with demographics of participants.
  2. Ensure staff in your organization are trained in evidence-based suicide prevention (i.e., Mental Health First Aid) and attend at least one additional Youth Thrive networking event.
  3. Participate in the local Bullying Prevention Campaign by providing parents and youth with information on bullying and appropriate social-emotional responses.
  4. Provide access to books for students, promote students choosing books of interest to encourage the love of reading, and encourage 20 minutes of daily reading.
  5. Promote access to college by working to ensure that by 9th grade all students have the opportunity to visit at least one college.