Torrington Youth Service Bureau

The Torrington Area Youth Service Bureau is program of the Northwestern Connecticut YMCA

With goals to assist young people and their families through difficult life experiences; to help improve the quality of life of our constituents; to facilitate families in conflict resolution; to assist families involved in the juvenile justice system; to increase awareness of substance abuse to young people; to keep children safe and to enhance our communities, the Torrington Area Youth Service Bureau provides services to the youth of Torrington, Harwinton, Burlington, Litchfield and Goshen, as well as, Summer Youth Employment for youth of Winsted and Region 7 school district.

Our Mission

The Torrington Area Youth Service Bureau seeks to: Provide programs which address the needs of youth and their families. Develop and implement educational/social activities that prevent delinquency and strengthen families. Coordinate special projects that promote positive youth development.

Our Supporters

The Torrington Youth Service Bureau is funded by:

The City of Torrington

The Town of Harwinton

The Town of Burlington

The State Dept. of Children and Families

The State Dept. of Social Services

Substance Abuse Action Council of Central CT, Inc.

State and local Department of Education

Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board

Center Congregational Church – Torrington

Litchfield County Board of REALTORS, Inc.

Local organizations and civic groups

Private donors

How to Help:

As a non-profit agency, we appreciate any and all support from our community to continue to provide our services at no cost to our neighbors in need.


All donations are used to fund programs to address the needs of youth and their families, develop and implement educational/social activities that prevent delinquency and strengthen families, and coordinate special projects that promote positive youth development.

Please contact Cathy Ohm at 860-379-0708 X 211,

Toy/Clothing Drive:

Our annual toy and clothing drive starts at the end of September and continues until Christmas. The Torrington Youth Service Bureau collects names, ages, and wish lists from youth throughout the area who come from needy families or are in foster care. Anyone interested can call our office to obtain the name, or several names, of needy youth to donate a specific gift to. Last year, with the help of the community, we were able to distribute over 1,500 gifts to area youth.

Invest in the future.  Mentor a youth!

Our One on One Mentoring Program specifically targets youth in foster care between the ages of 14-21.  These teens are in need of mentors to help them in shaping a successful future and to become productive citizens of our community.  They are looking for positive role models and supportive adults who they can call a friend.  They need someone who will be able to open the doors to new experiences, show them the road to opportunities, and most importantly, someone to encourage them and help them realize that they can overcome the stigma of being “a foster kid” and prove all the statistics wrong.

Research has shown that mentoring works!  The presence of a mentor is associated with better outcomes for youth, such as fewer depressive symptoms, less stress, greater satisfaction with life at age 18, better overall health, educational attainment, and a reduction in risky behaviors.Just a few hours a month can make an enormous difference!

You can help to guide a youth who might not have the proper support they need to make it in the world.  Teach them daily living skills they don’t always learn in school and that they may not be taught at home, such as: applying to colleges and being successful students, how to manage their money, how to write a resume or apply for jobs, how to communicate effectively, be professional, learn a new hobby, make positive healthy lifestyle choices, and become established in the community so that they can learn to help and make a difference too!

About Mentoring

We want mentoring to be a positive experience for everyone involved!
All volunteer mentors receive training before being matched with a youth and throughout the mentoring relationship. The mentoring program coordinator is always available for guidance, support, and to help come up with ideas for both the mentor and the youth they are matched with. We also provide fun group events throughout the year for the mentors and youth to meet other matches and have a good time.

Requirements and Qualifications

We have mentors from all walks of life. You must be 21 years or older to mentor and pass a DCF and criminal background check. You do not need to have prior experience working with youth or youth in foster care. The most important thing is that you would like to help a young person in your community succeed. Because the mentoring program is designed to foster consistent adult relationships for youth in foster care, we do ask for a one year minimum commitment. Mentors usually meet with their mentees about 3 hours a month.

If you are interested in learning more about being a volunteer mentor, please contact Greg Brisco at (860) 489-3133 ext.116,

You can also fill out our application and release and mail it to Greg Brisco at the Northwest CT YMCA, 259 Prospect St, Torrington, CT 06790

Summer Youth Employment Program  

The Torrington Area Youth Service Bureau in conjunction with the City of Torrington operates the Summer Youth Employment program funded through the CT Department of Labor’s Regional Workforce Investment Board. The summer program is for eligible youth age 14-21 in the Torrington area. The program runs for 6 weeks and youth are paid minimum wage for 20 hours of work at host worksites. Over 100 youth are hired annually and placed in various businesses, non-profit agencies, and work crews around the greater Torrington area.

Applications are available mid-April through the end of May at the TAYSB office and area school guidance offices. Or use the link below to print the application.

SYEP – Year Round Program 

This program is an extension of the summer program allowing youth who had exceptional performance to continue working throughout the school year. The availability, length, hours, and number of youth varies annually based on funding.


Host Worksites

If your business or non-profit would like to host Summer Youth Employment participants next year, please contact our office at (860) 496-0356!

Other Programs and Services

Outreach Program 

Our outreach program serves as a non-threatening, highly accessible service for youth and families in need of counseling, as a free short-term service. We are able to meet with youth/families at our office location, at their school, or in their home, depending on the need.  Counseling goals are set and referrals for more intensive treatment options are made as need arises.  We also offer therapeutic groups in schools during students’ free periods and lunch times.  We serve youth from kindergarten through high school.

Juvenile Review Board 

A diversion program that is offered to first time offending youth who commit a misdemeanor or have been truant from school, or beyond control at home. This program is a joint effort between Court staff, the Torrington Police Department, the Torrington Public School system, and various community agencies.  The goal is to have the youth learn from their mistakes and ultimately prevent court involvement.

School Support Groups 

The Youth Service Bureau Direct Service staff facilitated 20 various in-school groups, from lunch bunches (social skills development), to peacemaking groups and after school programs for Harwinton, Torrington and Burlington youth.

Torrington LIST (Local Interagency ServiceTeam)

The purpose of the LIST is to be a resource to the community, court-district and local DCF office specifically relating to juvenile justice issues within our region.

Community Service Program 

Through a strong working relationship with Juvenile Court the YSB receives referrals to aid adjudicated youth in finding or creating community service projects to meet the demands of their probation.

Community Based Life Skills Program 

This program incorporates classroom instruction, hands on activities within the community, and individual counseling to teach needed life skills. The curriculum incorporates basic education skills, daily living skills, socialization, self-awareness, and pre-employment skills. This service is the only resource in the area that addresses the unique issues youth in foster care face as they transition into indepenance.

Safe Harbor Youth Services

Safe Harbor is a satellite office of TAYSB located in Harwinton.

Our History

Safe Harbor was established in August of 2012. The founding members were Ted Shafer, Michael Criss, Tom Donaldson, Matthew Disorbo, Sinclair Bush, Angie O’Donnell, Emily Breakell, Seth Kellogg, and Hannah Doyle.


Counseling, skill building and support groups, Juvenile Review Board, Summer Youth Employment Program, Community Based Life Skills/Mentor program, Positive Youth Development Programs.


To build a teen center, host events which benefit teens, to reach out to those who are in need of assistance, and build a strong community with teens.

Current Members

Matthew Disorbo, Sinclair Bush, Angie O’Donnell, Emily Breakell, Seth Kellogg, Hannah Doyle.

Community Conversation About Education

A community conversation was held on February 28th at Lewis Mills High School. Below is a summary of the discussion.

For more information on Safe Harbor Youth Services, visit our websites: and

PO Box 66

100 Bentley Drive

Harwinton, CT 06791

For referral, assistance, or additional information: call (860) 485-9051 Ext. 110, fax (860) 482-3084, e-mail: