This post was paid for by Teton Youth and Family Services

JACKSON, Wyo. — When Jeremy Silcox, Director of the Van Vleck House, explains the role that Teton Youth & Family Services plays in the community, there’s no hesitation. “Our services save lives,” he explains. “Our services impact the whole community. Our services embody the spirit of a Public/Private partnership, there is no other organization that serves kids and families in the same way we do. Without us, there is no other alternative in this community.”

Photo: Teton Youth and Family Services

Silcox has served as the director of the downtown Group Home for youth since 2015, but began his tenure with the nonprofit in 1993. The Van Vleck House and Crisis Shelter are the only resources available to house at-risk youth in Teton County; without these resources, law enforcement and families would face hours-long drives in often-treacherous conditions to place young adults at the next-nearest facilities. And, Silcox points out, this is no small number of youth. 

“Each year we serve between 45-75 kids in our Crisis Shelter and Group Home,” he says. “85% of those kids are able to return home after our programs without need for a higher level of care.” Not only is this helpful to children and families on a therapeutic level, but saves the community millions of dollars.  

The Van Vleck House Group Home, located in the heart of Jackson Hole, wasn’t actually built to house youth. Moreover, it hasn’t had any real renovations since the mid-1980s. “We have never had a purpose-built facility that meets both the need for a comfortable as well as a safe setting,” explains Silcox. Current renovations that are underway will make the space more welcoming and — critically — more safe for the youth in the program. 

“Our new building will have improved lines of sight for monitoring behaviors, more sanitary conditions and an overall more modern, brighter, and welcoming feel,” says Silcox. Unlike other SPET initiatives that are on the current ballot, the reinvigoration of Teton Youth & Family Services’ facilities is more than shovel ready — it’s in action. Thanks to a collaborative effort among local philanthropists and state funding, the vast majority of these desperately-needed renovations is already acquired. 

“The overall budget for our projects is $15 million,” explains Sarah Cavallaro, Executive Director of Teton Youth & Family Services. “We have secured two-thirds of that through private donations, and are working towards achieving an additional $3 million through state funding. Since we serve the entire Jackson Hole community, we’re confident that the voters of Teton County will show us their support by delivering the final $2 million through voting for Proposition #2.”

Silcox agrees: “We help kids and families, people who live and work in this community, at the most difficult moments in their lives. We also help these families connect to the broader base of supportive services that exist in Teton County. As a direct result of our work, there are fewer kids struggling with suicidal and self-harm behaviors, fewer kids struggling with substance abuse issues, fewer kids with behavioral issues and fewer kids that have to go outside the community to get the help that they need.”

Voting for SPET Proposition #2 — Teton Youth & Family Services Facility Improvements will ensure that these projects will be completed on schedule, and the organization can seamlessly continue providing a critically-necessary service to the community.

Teton Youth & Family Services urges all community members to vote for SPET Proposition #2 — Teton Youth & Family Services Facility Improvements. Vote on or before November 8th, and cast your ballot to support critical programming and facilities that keep children and families healthy, thriving, and safe.