Alternatives for Youth

iTHRIVE is a program of Alternatives for Youth (AFY), a 30-year-old 501(c)3 non-profit based in Longmont, Colorado. Our mission is to promote success of youth by instilling values that lead to positive choices and positive community impact and by encouraging social, cultural, and self development. With a history of providing supporting education programs, iTHRIVE grew out of a resounding need in the community and educational settings for a program to help teens struggling with substance abuse. As with all of our work, through iTHRIVE we are dedicated to helping youth succeed. Our administrative staff provides support to iTHRIVE.

Our goal is to provide iTHRIVE at a price that is affordable for any teen and family in need. Many foundations and donors provide support to make this possible. We are grateful for all of their support! If you would like to join our supporters in donating to iTHRIVE, information about how to give is available by clicking here.

History of iTHRIVE

iTHRIVE was created to address the need for a program in and around Boulder County for teens struggling with substance abuse. Substance abuse is a major concern for youth of our community and one of the top issues interfering with our student’s academic success. According to the results of the Boulder County 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 42.8% of high school students report current use of alcohol and 24.2% report current use of marijuana. By 12th grade, 82.8% of high school students have drank, 58.8% currently use alcohol, 44.7% recently binge drank, 56.8% have tried marijuana, and 34.4% currently use marijuana. Substance abuse presents numerous risks for our youth’s health, mental health, and future success. Knowing that over 4 in 10 high school students drink and have ever tried marijuana, the issue of substance abuse among our students is a major concern because of the impact of alcohol and drug use on the teenage brain and academic success.

Knowing this, in 2010 the Longmont ASSET Coalition (including AFY, Boulder County Public Health Addiction Recovery Division, Longmont Teen Clinic, Longmont Children and Youth Resources, Longmont Municipal Probation, Longmont Police Department School Resource Officer, the Rand Foundation, local therapists, and concerned community members) identified a growing need in the community for a low-cost substance abuse treatment program for adolescents. Programs that worked with teens throughout the county were seeing a growing number of adolescents struggling with substance abuse and the consequences (i.e. lack of academic persistence and success, criminal activity, unhealthy choices, suspension and expulsion) and a growing number of parents who wanted help for themselves and their children but were either unable to find or access programs. At the same time, ASSET found that programs in Boulder County for adolescents struggling with substance abuse focus on prevention, treatment for adolescents in the judicial or social services system, or select populations.

The ASSET Coalition found that there were virtually no local, affordable services for adolescents and their parents who are not in the system but who clearly need support. ASSET proposed a program model and that the program be house at Alternatives for Youth. Based on the work of ASSET, Alternatives for Youth piloted iTHRIVE, an early intervention program for adolescents struggling with substance abuse and for their parents/guardians in spring 2011.