What is YDA?

Youth Directions and Alternatives is a private, non-profit community and youth agency serving youth (age 11 through 21) and their families in the school districts of Elwood, Harborfields, and Northport/East Northport. YDA is for all youth. We do not limit our activities to the gifted or the disadvantaged.

YDA staff works cooperatively with the schools, churches, libraries, police, service organizations, and other community groups to determine the contemporary needs of our youth and in developing programs and services to meet these needs. Fully compliant with the goals of the A.D.A., YDA is constantly striving to ensure that no one is denied accessibility and opportunity for full participation because of disability.

YDA programs emphasize the positive development of youth. Our professional staff acts as facilitators and enablers who believe that youth can do things for themselves if given the opportunity and support. Youth are encouraged to plan, implement, and evaluate their own projects under adult guidance. By incorporating this philosophy of Youth Development into our programs, youth learn valuable life-planning skills and healthy attitudes needed for a productive and happy adulthood.

How Can You Help?

Donations and Fundraisers

Fundraisers and community donations supplement our primary sources of support and are vital to YDA's ability to continue to successfully achieve our mission. Your tax deductible donations are gratefully welcomed and appreciated.

Board of Directors

The Board meets on the third Wednesday of every month, excluding July and August, and consists of adult and youth volunteers. The Board's function is to determine the needs of the community and the direction of YDA. In action, the Board members provide leadership and continuity, select and appoint the Executive Director, govern YDA policies, select fellow board members, fundraise money and promote the agency.


Volunteers are a vital part of YDA. They share their time and knowledge gaining many personal rewards. Some of the varied volunteer opportunities include chaperoning and coaching recreational activities, teaching new skills to youth and joining the Board of Directors. Youth volunteers are invited to participate in YDA's Community Impact Team (CIT). CIT gives back to the community by performing different service projects throughout the year. These projects include but are not limited to food drives, Special Olympics, Adopt-A-Family, tutoring and beach clean ups.

Programs and Services We Offer

Youth Development Programs

Youth assume responsibility for creating, organizing and implementing programs such as:

  • Community Impact Team
  • Grandfriends

Educational Programs

  • Health Awareness Workshops
  • Home Alone Program
  • Detention Center

Recreational Activities

Individual and Family Counseling

Confidential assistance for youth and their families who seek help in coping with pressures related to schools, peers, drugs and personal conflicts.


Specialized groups on topics such as divorce, anger/aggression, bereavement, social skills and parenting are offered as needed.

Youth Advocacy

Someone to stand by youth in conflict situations involving the courts, schools, etc.