Van Go, Inc. offers a variety of programs and services to Douglas County youth, ages 14-24. Our comprehensive, ‘earn while you learn’ employment programs use art as the vehicle to provide employability skills training, health and wellness education, and social service support. Van Go’s nationally recognized programming gives young people a job, real world skills, individualized support and the opportunity to create their own vision of success.
JAMS is Van Go’s employment program for 14-18 year old youth. JAMS serves teens who have identified barriers to employment and educational attainment including, but not limited to: living in poverty, court involvement, mental health diagnosis, placement in foster care, truancy or having an IEP in school. JAMS serves the emerging workforce by teaching them important job skills employers value and life skills needed for self-sufficiency. Our holistic approach entails providing them with meaningful paid employment to create art, all while addressing the needs that qualified the youth for our programs. JAMS typically operates in three 8-week sessions throughout the year in the spring, summer, and fall.
The Arts Train
The Arts Train (TAT) is Van Go’s year-round, transitional employment program for young adults, ages 18-24. Designed to engage disconnected youth, TAT serves young people who have barriers to employment and educational attainment including, but not limited to: living in poverty, mental health diagnosis, aging out of foster care, pregnancy or parenting, court involvement, homelessness, or lacking a high school diploma. These youth often “fall through the cracks” and TAT provides paid employment, employability skills training and comprehensive wraparound services, all aimed at addressing their identified barriers, setting attainable goals and preparing participants for successful employment, educational attainment and self-sufficiency. The Arts Train provides nine months of paid, on-site job training followed by a paid, community-based internship matched with their career interests or skill set to help these young adults successfully transition to independence.
Van Go’s Pre-Employment Prep Program (PEPP) is a program for youth ages 14-15. Designed as a learning opportunity for youth with little or no prior work experience, PEPP engages participants in 28 hours of pre-employment and life skills curriculum while earning a paid stipend. Youth learn employability skills, soft skills, employee rights, advocacy and self-care. With wraparound services being an essential component of all Van Go programs, PEPP also includes art activities as a mindfulness tool for self-expression and an individual consultation with social work staff. At the conclusion of the 4-week program, every youth will receive a customizable resume, cover letter, mock interview experience, and a social services plan outlining community resources based on their identified needs.
Go Healthy is Van Go’s wellness initiative central to all of our programs and services. Go Healthy provides a holistic approach to self-care and wellness that translates well into our job-readiness work. Through a variety of educational opportunities and experiential practice, youth learn that when they take good care of themselves outside of the work environment, they are the best prepared to perform in the workplace and enjoy a healthy lifestyle. Our Go Healthy programming includes mental health supports, healthy snacks and summer lunches, nutrition education, physical activity, and wellness activities/education.
Van Go & Co. Clothing Closet
Van Go & Co. is our clothing closet curated specifically for teens and young adults. Access to new and gently used clothing and hygiene products that are appropriate for a younger age range is often limited. Originally conceived as a resource to provide our program participants with on trend, work-appropriate attire, Van Co & Co. quickly grew to encompass everyday clothing, shoes, coats, jewelry, hygiene supplies, and personal care items. Having clean clothing and self-care items has an often underestimated, significant impact on the health and well-being of our youth. The fundamental resources provided by Van Go & Co. send a message to our youth that they are valued.
Job Skills Training
Employability Skills (Punctuality, Teamwork, Attendance, Communication, Decision-making), Performance Evaluation, Earning a Paycheck, Mock Interviewing, Resume & Cover Letter Development
Life Skills Lessons
Financial Literacy, Accessing Community Resources, Independent Living Skills
Mental Health Services
Assessments, Crisis Intervention & Stabilization, Short-term Interventions, Referrals to DCCCA, Bert Nash, & Other Longer-term Mental Health Supports
Tutoring, Dropout Prevention Strategies, College Applications and FAFSA, Test Preparation
Go Healthy Lessons
Health Screenings, Stress Management, Exercise, Drug and Alcohol Prevention, Nutrition Education, Healthy Snacks and Lunches