Since 1985, the Children’s Cabinet has worked tirelessly to keep children safe and families together. This year alone, they’ve provided 423 families with no-cost counseling services, assisted 16,022 youth through school and street outreach, and offered help and education to 6,500 parents. All told, the Children’s Cabinet has helped 12,000 families living in Reno-Sparks.
What’s the key to its success? A unique cooperative effort between the private sector and public agencies in Nevada. Kim Young, executive director, remains passionate about helping kids and families when they need it most. She’s watched the organization grow over the years and helped countless kids and families in the process.
Read on to learn more about the positive impacts of the Children’s Cabinet on the Truckee Meadows and Kim’s continued role in creating a family-friendly Reno.
The Story Behind the Children’s Cabinet
Born in the Bay Area, Kim moved to Reno-Sparks during 8th grade, attending both middle and high school in the area. At the University of Nevada, Reno, she studied social work. Through this program, she first learned about the Children’s Cabinet.
“I started interning in 1989. At the time, there were just four interns, and we had a lot of ability to interact with clients and figure out the public-private partnership model. It was a great time to explore my strengths and set up my career path and trajectory.”
The public-private relationship Kim refers to is a unique one first established in 1985. It started with a brainstorming session between Michael Dermody, a local real estate developer, and Charles McGee, a family court judge. As they discussed the needs facing the community, they realized that no one community organization or private individual could handle these challenges alone. It required cooperation.
From private attorneys and politicians to school superintendents and entrepreneurs, the Cabinet assembled a group of high-level members to identify and address community issues by filling the gap for unmet needs. As Kim notes, “The beauty of having heads of agencies and companies come together is that you see trends early on and work to start addressing those needs. You eliminate a lot of layers when you have the heads of these agencies already cooperating.”
Public-Private Partnerships that Change Lives
About ten years ago, the Cabinet purchased a four-screen press and created Cabinet Ink, a program to provide students who haven’t completed high school, or who require extra support completing it, with a much-needed career path. Over the years, they struggled to make Cabinet Ink sustainable because the equipment available to them limited their printing capacity.
Then, about six months ago, Kim spoke with a group of volunteers from Custom Ink who help out periodically at the Cabinet. She mentioned Cabinet Ink and its sustainability struggles. After showing them her current setup, Custom Ink proposed an idea: an extended apprenticeship program.
Today, Custom Ink provides the space, equipment, and mentorship, and the Cabinet offers case management and support for teens so they can develop the soft skills they need for long-term workforce success. “Many of the kids don’t have that innate knowledge. They haven’t received coaching from parents or their schools, and they don’t realize the importance of communicating with their employer, arriving to work on time, dressing professionally, etc.”
Kim sees other advantages of the program, too. “Custom Ink is a fun, respectful workplace, and they’ve taken this partnership to the next level. For example, Custom Ink employees call themselves “Inkers,” and they call the teens in the program “Inklets.” They show them every aspect of the screening business during a 12-week apprenticeship program. And at the end of the program, if the experience has gone well, then Custom Ink may offer the youth a job.”
There’s enormous potential for replicating this program in nearly every industry. Since Custom Ink is a nationwide business, they’re now looking at ways to take the concept to other locations.
Resources for Families Living in Reno-Sparks
But the services provided by the Children’s Cabinet don’t stop there. They have a Safe Place program with 24/7 response to phone calls or texts from youth in dangerous or unsafe situations. The Cabinet is also highly responsive to the needs of families. “There’s never a wait for someone who calls with an immediate need. They can come in or talk by phone to address crisis situations.”
And the Cabinet is an excellent place for anyone looking for parenting resources and support. “If you’re new to Reno, this is the place to start. We offer community-based parenting classes because we understand that needs often arise unexpectedly, and the stress of relocating can bring them to the surface. We’re here to support you and your family.”
Are you interested in learning more about resources for families living in Reno-Sparks? Or, perhaps you’re looking for a great cause to support? Contact us today to find out more about organizations that are having a positive impact on our community and beyond.