In response to an identified and growing need for comprehensive coordinated programming for youth, the Putnam County Youth Development Commission (PCYDC) was convened in the fall of 1994 under Judge Diana LaViolette of the local Putnam County Circuit Court. From a letter of invitation, over forty community volunteers representing all aspects of the community – business, industry, school, university, legal, medical, government, parents and youth – began meeting monthly to identify needs, determine programming responses, develop those programs and construct a means to efficiently and effectively service the community.
In the fall of 1996, the PCYDC formally organized as a 501c3 in order to establish itself as an entity capable of hiring staff and increasing its ability to leverage funding in order to further its goals. From the original committee, a twelve member Board of Directors was elected and functioned under approved by-laws. Part time staff was hired to better coordinate programming and continue to extend the success of the PCYDC. In October of that same year, the PCYDC Board of Directors applied for and achieved recognition as a Youth Service Bureau for Putnam County from the Indiana Youth Service Bureau Association. Though young in relationship to other such designated organizations, the obvious commitment of the board and staff were still able to achieve and effect positive changes for youth.
Today the PCYDC continues to function with a Board of Directors, two full time staff, three licensed/certified instructors, twenty-five (25) trained CASA volunteers, ten adult Teen Court Advisory Board members and forty student teen court volunteers. The PCYDC has expanded its services to the youth of Putnam County to include the development and coordination of the following programs: CASA, (Court Appointed Special Advocate), Choices, Coats for Kids, National Night Out, Putnam County Teen Court, and School Based Teen Court.
Our mission continues to guide the organization in accomplishing its goal of enabling youth to participate and contribute to their community in positive ways. The ability of the PCYDC to conference and share with similar organizations, learn new strategies and find even better ways to promote and protect youth in our community is an advantage in this complicated and fast changing world.