Program supports disadvantaged youth

Program supports disadvantaged youth

Program supports disadvantaged youth

Rehabilitating and Empowering Disadvantaged Youth (REDY) provides professional mentors and other services to at-risk children up to age 18. Co-founder and director Pat McDade currently contracts with Child and Family Services.

“We want to help get them a positive direction before they end up getting involved with juvenile services,” he said.

At its core, REDY seeks to provide support to at-risk children and teenagers by providing mentors to help them connect, find stability and build trust during a turbulent time. REDY also offers avenues into beneficial programs like sports, 4H, Nevada Outdoor School and the Boys & Girls Club.

REDY participants are assigned a mentor for four months initially. Mentors assess the child’s needs and help them pursue their goals based on those needs. High school aged clients might learn living and job-finding skills, for example, while mentors for younger kids might focus on getting them involved in sports or other programs to help them connect with others.

“There’s nothing that’s really off the table as far as what they do with kids and our mentors,” McDade said.

Because mentors are assigned for blocks of four months, the kids know when the person will begin to take a less-central role. “A lot of what’s happened in these kids’ lives has been traumatic and sudden, so when somebody steps out of their life, we don’t want to do that again,” McDade said. “So then when we leave that family, they know the date so it’s not sudden.”

Mentorships can be extended if necessary, and mentors remain on-call for emergencies.

REDY, set, go

REDY was the brainchild of Winnemucca native Pat McDade and his business partner. He lived in rural New York state at the time. When the initial version, under the umbrella of another nonprofit organization, fell through, McDade and his business partner decided to venture off on their own.

Their leap of faith led to operations in New York, Ohio, and now northern Nevada.

“The more I looked around in Winnemucca, the more I realized that this service was needed here, too,” McDade said. He had returned to his hometown to take a position at French Ford Middle School as a social worker.

“I sought startup funds through several businesses...and didn’t have one person turn me down for funding or materials, which was amazing,” he said. “And I don’t think it was my sales pitch, it’s just that the people of Winnemucca are that giving if they know something is for the right reasons.”

Support has come in many forms, not just financial. The county donated an office for a dollar per year. “Imagine what a big assist that is to a startup program like mine,” he said.

People can donate money and materials through the website. Whatever the program can’t use will pass on to another service that needs it.

REDY doesn’t currently provide private services, but McDade hopes to branch out once the program has built its community and financial base.

Our missions are the same

Boys & Girls Club director Chad Peters said he was excited about the collaboration with REDY. “Any time we can help the disadvantaged youth in Winnemucca...we make a stronger base for the things that we can provide for the youth in our community,” he said.

“We can’t do a lot of one-on-one at the club...but it’s a situation where he (McDade) can see the needs of the kids in his program, and he can integrate them into our programming, I think there’s a thing there that helps what he’s trying to do and what we’re trying to do. Plus, it creates that collaboration of peer-on-peer stuff that happens, which our mission at the Boys and Girls Club,” Peters said.

McDade said one of the big goals in REDY is to keep the kids active. “That’s going to eliminate some the problems that kids do have because it gets them connected to people. It gives them goals.”