Oakland County Youth Assistance
Oakland County Youth Assistance began in Hazel Park, Michigan in 1953 with the mission "to strengthen youth and families and reduce the incidence of delinquency, neglect, and abuse through community involvement." A unique feature of Youth Assistance, and one of the keys to its stability and effectiveness, is its tri-sponsorship, which is made up of the Circuit Court-Family Division, local school districts and local municipalities (cities, villages and townships). Since its inception over 60 years ago, Youth Assistance has expanded throughout the county and now includes 26 local affiliates, including Birmingham Youth Assistance (BYA).
The Early Days of BYA
Birmingham Youth Assistance had its beginnings in 1962 when a group of local professionals got together to help coordinate youth activities in the area. The group included Lt. Robert Schaule of the Birmingham Police Department; Daniel Nesbitt, Deputy Superintendent of Schools; F. Ward Ouradnik, director of the Community House; W. D. Martin, director of recreation for the City of Birmingham; and William H. Beck, executive director of the Birmingham YMCA. They met once a month on an informal basis to discuss new programs and make sure there was no duplication of services.
On February 4, 1963, the Birmingham City Commission recommended the appointment of 11 community leaders, including the five individuals who started the group, to serve as the Birmingham Youth Assistance Committee (BYAC). Subsequently, the Birmingham Board of Education, in a formal resolution, joined with the Birmingham City Commission and the Probate Court of Oakland County to sponsor BYAC.
In the years since its formation, BYA (formerly BYAC) has contributed countless programs and services to children and families in the Birmingham School District and that important work continues to this very day!