Online Auction to Benefit Youth Connection Waco on August 14, 2020

Don’t miss out!

Beautiful items and an auction that benefits us! We have an exciting offer from one of our partners that supports Youth Connection and our mission.

JenLee with JenLee’s Turquoise Blue Live Auctions has one of her beautiful jewelry items being auctioned to benefit Youth Connection. Please go to her page and join and be ready to bid Friday night at 6:00 pm. Maybe hang around and see what beautiful items you can snag!? We look forward to hearing from you this Friday at 6:00 pm. Go ahead and join the page now so you will be ready! 🤠

Bubba’s 33 Waco to support Youth Connection on Aug. 12th!


On Monday, August 12, 2019, Bubba’s 33 – Waco will hold a special fundraising night specifically for US!

Tell your server you came out to support Youth Connection Waco, and a percentage of the cost of your meal will come directly to us!

Come out in support and let Bubba’s 33 do the dishes this Monday night! Don’t forget to tell your server! See you there!

Fundraising event August 12. 2019 for Youth Connection Waco at Bubba's 33 - Waco.

Only 2 DAYS TO GO! Join us THIS FRIDAY for our Moving Forward Conference!

On Friday, April 7, Youth Connection Waco will host our 21st annual Moving Forward: Effective Ways to Impact Others Conference!

This year’s event is set to be our best yet as we bring the incredible duo of Kevin Tutt and Michael Daggs ( back to Waco!

Join us for this year’s event and register TODAY! Seating is limited, so be sure to reserve your seat ASAP. You may register online right now at

For more details about this year’s speakers and breakout sessions, visit the conference main page at

We look forward to seeing you on Friday!

Moving Forward: Effective Ways to Reach our Youth Conference NOW in its 20th Year!

Youth Connection’s 20th Annual Central Texas Regional Conference 
Moving Forward: Effective Ways to Reach Our Youth

Youth Connection hosts “Moving Forward: Effective Ways to Reach Our Youth” each spring for professionals who work with youth. It covers new programs, methods and strategies to use with at-risk teens.

Our 20th anniversary event will bring Kevin Tutt and Michael Daggs to Waco, Texas, on April 8, 2016!

Mr. Tutt and Mr. Daggs own and operate Tutt & Daggs, Creative Performance Improvement. For the past 10 years, this duo has presented to over 500 different organizations in the areas of excellence, commitment and teamwork with many presentations focusing on the area of public and higher education with an emphasis on maximizing youth engagement and potential.

To learn more about Kevin Tutt and Michael Daggs, please visit their website at

STAY TUNED! We will have our conference flyer available soon! Make sure you mark your calendars NOW! CEUs WILL BE OFFERED!

When: April 8, 2106

Where: McLennan Community College Conference Center, Waco, Texas (

Admission*: Registration fee of $75. Student fee is $20 with current student ID.

*Fee includes lunch and all program materials.

For more information or to be on the conference mailing list, contact Carolyn Nichols at (254) 202-8480 or

Melissa McCool, LCSW, Keynote for this Year’s Moving Forward Conference – May 1, 2015

Make plans now to join us for our 2015 Moving Forward Conference on May 1st!

Youth Connection Waco, Inc. is pleased to announce Melissa McCool, LCSW, as our 2015 Moving Forward Conference keynote speaker!

Ms. McCool is a speaker, writer, mother and licensed social worker who specializes in helping others handle depression and anxiety. Read more about our conference below, and make sure to register you and your colleagues today.2015 Youth Connection Conference

Meet Youth Connection Volunteer Kellie Jarrard

Kellie Jarrard knew she wanted to do something different.

photo courtesy of Kellie Jarrard

As a major in Child and Family Studies at Baylor University, her prior volunteer experiences had included teaching children and working within the foster care system. But when the time came to choose an organization to work with for her class on planning and administration in family and consumer sciences, Jarrard said she was taken in by Youth Connection executive director Carolyn Nichols’ enthusiasm and the organization’s devotion to teen mothers.

“I went in the next day for an interview with her and was really captivated by her passion for the youth in Waco and the desperate need for an organization like Youth Connection to exist,” Jarrard said. “I loved hearing about the teen mother visits, especially because teen pregnancy is so idolized right now in the media. This seemed like a unique opportunity and I was thrilled to know I could be a part of it.”

Throughout the fall semester of 2011, Jarrard served Youth Connection. She was involved in “Real Care Baby” presentations, and helped acquire sponsors and donors for Youth Connection’s annual fundraising event, Down on the Bayou, Nichols said.

“Kellie participated willingly and effectively in any task I asked her to be a part of,” Nichols said. “She is extremely dependable and very organized. I found her to be a very capable, pleasant and responsible person.”

Most of Jarrard’s time, however, was devoted the organization’s teen mother visits at Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center, which provide guidance and information about programs such as education, parenting, job training and child care to teen mothers, Nichols said.

“The teen mother visits were so enlightening to me, and I found myself thankful for the myriad of resources available in Waco and the surrounding areas,” Jarrard said. “However, seeing as how many of these teen mothers lived in poverty or poor living conditions, it would be very difficult for them to find these resources on their own.”

Jarrard said she was glad Youth Connection was able to play such a huge role in encouraging young mothers to go back to school or finish their degree, and in providing options for career and life choices following their graduation.

“The work I’ve done with Youth Connection has taught me the importance of awareness in a community when it comes to helping those who can’t help themselves,” Jarrard said. “So often the focus seems to be on criticizing these girls who end up on welfare and Medicaid because of their economic situation, but it really just takes someone to come alongside them and explain to them the wide array of options that exist outside waiting for them.”

Jarrard said she would love to see more nonprofits like Youth Connection in different areas, and she hopes that anyone who begins to volunteer with the organization realizes how influential of a job they are partaking in.

“Sometimes we are the only ‘cheerleaders’ who go into those hospital rooms and tell girls that they have options to finish school and pursue a career,” Jarrard said. “I just think that’s so special.”

As for her own future, Jarrard said Nichols has been an inspiration.

“She was an absolute blessing to work with, and I loved seeing her passion for youth in Waco,” Jarrard said. “She has really inspired me to one day look into starting a similar nonprofit in the Dallas area, where I’ll be moving after graduation, because I know there is definitely a need there for an organization like Youth Connection.”

Youth Connection invites a handful of student volunteers each semester, many of which come from the child and family studies program at Baylor like Jarrard. Other student volunteers have come from the Baylor School of Social Work, McLennan Community College and local high schools.

“Youth Connection mostly looks for volunteers who wish to work in children related fields following their college graduation,” Nichols said. “But we have also worked with others who were drawn to the programs Youth Connection offers.”

To get involved, potential volunteers should contact her to discuss if a placement with Youth Connection will be best for them and the organization’s programs, Nichols said. She can be reached at (254) 202-8480 or

Youth Connection’s RealCare Baby Video Won “Critics Choice” Award

Youth Connection’s promotional video for its RealCare Baby Project, “Effective Ways to Reach Our Youth,” entered the Realityworks’ video contest Spring 2012 and we are proud to announce we won the “Critics Choice” Award. Thank you all who visited Realityworks to give “Effective Ways to Reach Our Youth” five stars in the voting!

View the video:

“Too Cool for Trouble” in Action

Youth Connection Waco is doing its part to invest in the lives of middle school students across Central Texas. When it comes to investing in youth, one of the main ways Youth Connection serves the community is by pouring into the lives of middle school students.


Youth Connection sponsors the “Too Cool for Trouble” program by serving middle school students in educational activities after school hours. The goal of the “Too Cool for Trouble” program is to arm youth with the tools to make positive choices. The hope is that the practice of assessing options and making positive life choices will continue after the students leave the program.

Through group discussions and interactive games, seventh and eighth graders are provided an environment after school that is safe and useful for developing and enhancing personal lifestyle choices.

The program covers various topics such as good character traits and personal wellness. It also teaches skills like goal setting, taking responsibility and leadership.

Brad Jesson is the ACE (After School Centers on Education) Coordinator, or site manager, for one of the local middle schools. His primary duty is to provide activities for students after school and oversees the everyday after school program. Four core components make up his after school program—academic, enrichment, college and career preparation and parent involvement.

Youth Connection’s presence each week helps drive the impact of the program through its service to the students. Youth Connection takes over for Jesson one day per week and he is very grateful for the services of Youth Connection, specifically its “Too Cool for Trouble” program.

“They’ve been very good,” he said. “They are always steady and here on time. They spend time with the kids and the kids can tell they care about them. They put a lot back into them as well. You can always tell a difference in the students when we have somebody outside come in.”

When somebody comes from the program who is a volunteer not associated with the school, the demeanor of the students changes, according to Jesson. He said the students can get used to the same faculty and staff being there, so the presence alone of the Youth Connection volunteers very impactful in itself.

Volunteers value their experiences gained during their services for “Too Cool for Trouble”. For example, one volunteer reported great satisfaction in seeing the students interact with one another as well as employ the tools “Too Cool for Trouble” has given them.

The students in the Waco public schools are being enriched because of the volunteers and the services offered by through Youth Connection’s program. Seventh and eighth grade students are becoming aware of what it looks like to live lives that value morals, integrity and healthy, safe choices that will follow them the rest of their life.