Our Partners

The following organizations and agencies have been and will continue to be instrumental in the success of the Youth Excellence Project. We thank them. Please take some time to learn more about their work.


Living in Safe Alternatives, Inc. 

Living in Safe Alternatives (LISA), Inc. is a private non-profit, multi-service agency dedicated to providing independent living and transitional housing to foster care and court-involved youth. We approached LISA, Inc. with our vision for the Youth Excellence Project during our initial planning stages in 2013-2014. With a mission that aligned well with theirs, LISA, Inc. eagerly agreed to sponsor our program, providing fiduciary support and oversight. We are thrilled that our partnership has remained strong since and that we have accomplished so much together. To learn more about LISA, Inc. visit their website.


The J. Walton Bissell Foundation

The J. Walton Bissell Foundation provided the initial funding to launch the Youth Excellence Project. Their continued support has been instrumental in sustaining our work. We thank them immensely for believing in our mission and joining in helping this vulnerable population of youth.


The Floor Charitable Trust

We are grateful to the Floor Charitable Trust for providing funding to our program over the past couple of years. These funds sponsor youth involvement – allowing us to increase the number of youth we can involve in the program.


The Fund for Greater Hartford

We thank the Fund for Greater Hartford for providing funding to support our 2015-2016 cohort of youth. This funding sponsored youth involvement in our monthly programming, as well as our expedition to the Channel Islands National Park in California.


Winding Trails

Winding Trails is an amazing recreation area in Farmington Connecticut with hiking trails, campsites, canoes, and cross-country skiing. We are thankful that Winding Trails has allowed us to spend time on their property to connect with nature and learn new skills. Learn more about Winding Trails at their website.


Channel Islands Outfitters 

The team at Channel Islands Outfitters, which is no longer operational, facilities our 2014 and 2015 trips to the Channel Islands National Park. The team was phenomenal. Their love for the ocean and the outdoors was contagious. Their dedication to youth – outstanding. Today, members from this team can be found at Paddle Sports Center in Santa Barbara and Kern River Outfitters.


Outside Perspectives, Inc. 

Our partnership with Outside Perspectives, Inc. began in 2016 when we learned of their amazing work. Outside Perspectives is a non-profit program that partners with youth development organizations and community members to provide transformative experiences in the natural environment. They provide immersive wilderness experiences that are powerful catalysts for positive change in youth. In 2017, Nicky and Shannon, founders of Outside Perspectives, brought us on a backpacking and canoeing trip in the Maine wilderness. Their love for the outdoors and for impacting the lives of young people is all powerful. We will certainly be growing our partnership going forward. Learn more about Outside Perspectives on their website.


YExplore Yosemite Adventures

The spectacular outfitters from YExplore led our excursion in Yosemite in the summer of 2016. We thank them for providing an eye-opening experience  and one that is sure to have a lasting impact on our youth. Learn more about YExplore on their website.


The Connecticut Department of Children and Families

We thank the many caseworkers from DCF who referred youth to participate in the Youth Excellence Project. We admire the challenging work that caseworkers do on a daily basis. We are so happy that many have also found the time to seek out and connect some of the youth on their caseload with this kind of experience. We look forward to working with many more caseworkers from DCF. Learn more about DCF on their website.


The Connecticut Adoption Assistance Program

The Connecticut Adoption Assistance Program (AAP) at UConn Health is a confidential assessment, education, and brief counseling and referral service available to adoptive and guardianship families in Connecticut. The AAP has referred and sponsored a number of youth in our program. We thank them for identifying excellent candidates for our program and for providing support in their participation.


Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence

The Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV) is the state’s leading voice for victims of domestic violence. They oversee the state’s 18 domestic violence shelters and do tremendous work to find ways to prevent violence and support victims and their families. We have been very fortunate to work closely with CCADV on initiatives to train our youth to become ambassadors against violence and to take responsibility for advocating for healthy relationships and non-violent solutions. We look forward to continuing this important work together. Learn more about CCADV on their website.


Connecticut Center on Family Violence

The Connecticut Children’s Center on Family Violence is a relatively new entity that serves to respond to and reduce the number of children impacted by violence through a trauma-informed, multidisciplinary and multiagency approach. It exists as a partnership between Connecticut Children’s Medical Center and CCADV. Dr. Grasso, founder of the Youth Excellence Project, leads the Research Core component of the Center. We look forward to finding ways to work closely with the Center on reducing the impact of domestic violence on children. Learn more about the Center on their website.


The Connecticut Injury Prevention Center

The Connecticut Injury Prevention Center (IPC) at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center aims to reduce unintentional injury and violence among Connecticut residents. The IPC has three primary focus areas that include family violence, youth suicide, and teen driving safety. The IPC has been highly supportive of the Youth Excellence Project and has collaborated on initiatives to prevent violence among youth. Dr. Grasso is fortunate to be a research scientist at the IPC. We look forward to continuing our work together. Learn more about the IPC on their website.


Camp Harkness

Camp Harkness is a beautiful property in Waterford Connecticut that overlooks Long Island Sound. Facilities at Camp Harkness is owned by the State of Connecticut and managed by the Department of Developmental Services. We are so fortunate to be able to use the cabins and facilities at Camp Harkness during the winter months. Learn more about Camp Harkness on their website.


The DCF Wilderness School

The Wilderness School is a prevention, intervention, and transition program for teenage youth in Connecticut. Much like the Youth Excellence Project, the Wildness School is based on philosophies of experiential learning. It has positively impacted countless youth in the state. We have had cross-over youth from both programs and hope that we can continue to support each other and our shared mission. Learn more about the Wilderness School on their website.


There are many more individuals and organizations that have been supportive and instrumental in making the Youth Excellence Project a success. We thank them all and hope that they can remain an important part of our work.