Sarasota Police Department partners with nonprofits to establish Youth Empowerment Services program

Goal is to provide mentorship and services to at-risk youths and their families

The Sarasota Police Department has established the Youth Empowerment Services (Y.E.S.) program in partnership with Teen Court of Sarasota, the Brotherhood of Men Mentor Group and Truly Valued Inc., the department has announced.

“Y.E.S. is a diversion program that will provide mentorship and services to at-risk youth between the ages of 8 and 18,” along with their families, a news release explains. “The program supports the Sarasota Police Department’s crime prevention focus,” the release adds.

“I hope this will be a very positive and impactful program for the youth in our community,” said Police Chief Rex Troche in the release. “We hope this program will decrease the number of youths from going down the wrong path and help divert them from jail,” he added.

“The success of this program will be a game changer for our community and the youth in our city,” said Dominic Harris, founder and director of the Brotherhood of Men Mentor Group, in the release. “Numerous lives are going to be impacted for the greater good of our community, thanks to the partnerships with other organizations making this program possible,” Harris added.

“This program is important, as our youth and families need mentors that will make a life-changing impact on their lives and generations to come,” Shavonne Sams, CEO and founder of Truly Valued, pointed out in the release.

“Teen Court is so thankful to be included in this collaboration,” said Heather Todd, executive director of Teen Court of Sarasota, in the release. “The Y.E.S. program designs a personalized success plan for each student, with accountability, mentorship and quality services. Prevention and the earliest intervention are key to the Y.E.S. participant’s success,” Todd noted in the release.

The Sarasota Police Department awarded $50,000 in Law Enforcement Trust Funds (LETF) to the Y.E.S. partners in November 2022, the release points out. A portion of the money “has been used to hire a coordinator to manage the engagement of youth who are first-time offenders or currently going through the Teen Court program,” the release explains.

For additional information about the Y.E.S. Program, contact Y.E.S. Coordinator Derick Payne at or 727-642-0960.