#UnitedInCaring for

Our Youth

Being a kid isn’t always easy. Adolescents are often quietly fighting their own battles, but they don't always have the right tools to do so. Adolescents are often quietly fighting their own battles, but they do not always have the right tools to do so. According to the 2020 Status Report on Missouri's Substance Use and Mental Health, 9% of Missouri kids ages 12-17 admitted to drinking alcohol in the last month and 15,000 adolescents in Missouri had an illicit drug use disorder within the last year. And unfortunately, 10% of middle school students, 12% of high school students and 25% of college students had serious thoughts of suicide in 2020 and/or 2021.

When you give to United Way, you invest in our youth by ensuring there are out-of-school programs that provide safe, fun and educational environments full of enrichment opportunities. Through programs like this, students can connect with positive, caring adult mentors.

Research has shown that participation in out-of-school programs can:

  • Lead to lower dropout rates
  • Help close achievement gaps for low-income students
  • Reduce risky behaviors
  • Help students gain college and career skills 

our youth


United Way Partner Agencies & Programs That Serve Our Youth:



Bartlett Center

  • Youth Program that provides out-of-school care for ages 5-12
  • Virtual Academy

Big Brothers Big Sisters St. Joseph

  • Serves kids starting at age 7 (kids can be matched until age 14) who want/need a positive mentor and help form life-changing friendships

Family Guidance Center

  • Individualized services based on the need of the child and family
  • Assist with emotional disturbances, mental illness and substance use disorders


  • Southside Youth Program that supports youth in the areas of academics, relationships and health through healthy relationships with adults, providing nutritious meals, tutoring and homework assistance, weightlifting and fostering a positive community.

Pony Express Council, BSA

  • Traditional scouting that helps prepare youth for a successful future by developing academic skills, self-confidence, ethics, leadership and citizenship skills.
  • Camping

St. Joseph Safety & Health Council

  • Driver's Education and Permit Academy to teach teens how to drive safely

The Salvation Army

  • Youth Program that provides a safe environment to develop life skills, positive social and communication habits and the opportunity to learn new things.

United Way Profit In Education

  • United Way Reading Adventure helps school-age kids improve and maintain their reading skills by sending volunteers to read with students on a weekly basis
  • Speakers' Bureau connects business and industry professionals with students to share about their education and career paths. They also assist classes with project-based learning opportunities.
  • Breakfast With The Experts provides a panel of professionals to speak with students about potential career paths.
  • Take A Book Tuesday is a partnership with Second Harvest's No Hunger Summer program and several local school-age child care providers to help kids build their home libraries. 


  • Youth Development programs that provide a safe, fun and educational environment before and after school.
  • Summer Day Camps for ages 5-12
  • Free summer membership for 9th graders

YWCA St. Joseph

  • GRIT Center provides a safe space for teens ages 12-19 with a drop-in resource center, mentoring and outreach services. 

2040Our Youth & Imagine St. Joseph 2040

An important part of the Imagine St. Joseph 2040 involved investing in people. We want to create a community where our children and our grandchildren find value and opportunity in St. Joseph and want to stay and be part of in the future. 


Because you gave to United Way, last year: 

  • 571 students participated in after-school youth activities and programs.
  • More than 1,500 school-age children attended summer programs and camps for enrichment and learning.
  • 320 at-risk youth were impacted by a positive adult mentor.
  • More than 500 students learned about local employers and education required to work in particular jobs from area businesses. 
  • More than 700 youth participated in organized sports and activities.  

See what else your gift made possible last year!


Click here to see other areas of work your gift to United Way supports!