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The Young Adult's Initiative - Independent Living Program (YAI)

The Young Adult’s Initiative Independent Living Program (YAI) is a highly individualized, apartment-based, community-oriented youth development program that works with young men and women between the ages of 16 and 21 who are referred by and transitioning from DSS foster care throughout the state of MD. Under the umbrella of the Martin Pollak Project, Inc.’s continuum of services for children and their families, YAI provides housing, support services and a safe haven that empowers and encourages these young women and men to become increasingly more self-sufficient as they finish their schooling, develop their career path, enter the workforce and gain specific life skills needed to live on their own.          

Our Vision

Every youth will have a safe place to call home & the skills to maintain a positive, productive lifestyle.

Our Mission

To provide youth with the resources to support their ability to sustain an independent lifestyle that is … responsible, safe, stable and secure.

YAI’s Housing Component:

Our YAI youth typically reside a supported one bedroom program apartment in a safe setting that is convenient to buslines, community resources, employment opportunities, shopping and recreation in East Baltimore. Youth who have achieved their program goals and are working regularly are helped to transition to their own apartments in areas of choice convenient to their work, school and support systems within 6 months of aging out of care. Youth are supported to assume increasing financial responsibility in order to be able to sustain a safe and responsible lifestyle on their own by age 21.
YAI Program apartments are fully furnished and equipped upon move-in to allow youth to more fully concentrate on completing their education, succeeding in vocational training, obtaining employment, and developing a meaningful career path.  

Our Philosophy 

YAI Program Services are grounded in the belief that all youth have the fundamental right to:

  • Supports that allow them to develop their unique talents and potential,
  • Resources that enable them to sustain their lives in a reasonable fashion,
  • Living environments that are safe and stable,
  • Opportunities that allow them to contribute to their own well-being
  • Community partnerships that promote their transition from passive recipients to active participants.

YAI Services

Provided by a unique and diverse team that concentrates on the varying strengths, goals, needs, dreams and desires of each youth, our services include:

  • Regular on-site monitoring of youth in their apartments up to 4 times daily, as needed;
  • 24-7 on-call service and crisis intervention by trained Independent Living Associates;
  • Quarterly TAP plan (Team Action Plan outlining specific goals developed by each youth with his/her team);
  • Casey Life Skills Assessments;
  • In-home individualized life skills trainings targeting the following areas: meal preparation, housekeeping, budgeting & money management; interpersonal relationships, mental/physical health & wellness; personal hygiene, transportation, and sustainable housing:
  • Job readiness & search support services;
  • Informational interviews/apprenticeships;
  • Drug Testing(Base-line at entry & random as indicated/linkage to community based support services, as needed;
  • Educational/vocational support services & linkage to higher education;
  • Individual and small group social/cultural/recreational, and community service activities & events;
  • Targeted growth producing experiences to include: individual travel opportunities, hobbies, and health/wellness programs;
  • Linkage to, and one-on-one support, re community based medical and mental health services; and
  • Ongoing mentoring and role-modeling of skills needed to develop and maintain a positive, productive lifestyle and improve kinship, biological family relationships.   
  • Monthly bus pass
  • Bi-weekly Personal Needs Stipend
  • Bi-weekly Food Allowance
  • Quarterly Clothing Allowance

The YAI Administrative Team

Direct Care:

  • Corey Meyer, Senior Independent Living Associate
  • Roger Smith, Independent Living Associate
  • Austin Hamrick, Independent Living Associate
  • Kathleen Fiskum, Independent Living Associate
  • Marcus Smith, Independent Living Associate
  • Daniel Johnson, Independent Living Associate

Referral/Intake/Property Management:

Clinical Social Worker:

  • Cathleen Malcomb, LGSW 

  • Katie Dant, LSWA

Manager of Independent Living Services:

  • Katie Dant, LCSW-C

Help Build The Future:

Youth Are Important…Please stop by to share your ideas with our staff, to develop a partnership with YAI as a community resource, to tour a program apartment, or to find out more about our program. 

Donate your new or slightly used household goods or apartment furnishings.

List of needed items will be provided upon request.

For further information contact:

Katie Dant, LGSW

or YAI Program Offices

4325 Marble Hall Road, Basement Suite, Rear

Baltimore, MD 21218

Phone:  443-927-9214 office

           443-345-2781 referral/intake
           443-520-9039  24-7 on-call cell

FAX:   443-927-9159