Founders Joe Barb and Lambert Miller took Joe's son for a haircut several years ago. While cutting hair, the barber began talking to Joe about his stepson. The barber's stepson had recently been dropped off at his house, and his dad refused to participate in parenting his own child any further.
The barber further expressed his stepson was a broken youth, was at risk of dropping out of school, severely depressed, and in need of counseling support. The youth was rejected, and displaced by a parent, forced to pack his things in a trash bag and leave the home he grew up in.
Joe told his barber he would see if he could help find support for his stepson.
Joe contacted as many service providers and friends as possible, who serve youth, and realized, counseling services were all booked, or had a wait list, and that housing options for youth experiencing risk factors, were even more scares, especially low barrier youth housing.
Joe immediately resigned from his position, began the journey of creating a nonprofit, and he and Lambert vowed to make a difference in youth lives, by ensuring that youth would be fully supported in their community.
Our mission is to strengthen and empower youth and young adults, to overcome obstacles by providing housing, supportive counseling, community education, and advocacy.
We envision a community where all youth, and young adults, inclusive of all intersecting identities, are supported, equal, and thriving.
We recognize thriving as a community means all youth, and young adults, inclusive of all intersecting identities, orientation, gender, race, ethnicity, culture, age, ability status, class, faith, and social characteristics are equal.
As a nonprofit, we seek to fill gaps in South Dakota, primarily the Rapid City area, as a youth and young adult Drop-In and Transitional Housing Center, with supportive services, prevention, education and community advocacy.
The YAB is a diverse group of young people ages 13-24, reflective of young people experiencing homelessness in our region.
The YAB works with the State Continuum of Care, helping to create solutions for youth homelessness.
Mission and Vision of the YAB:
Mission – “We are a youth led group that advocates, educates, learns, uses, and gains resources to create a positive change in the ongoing homeless youth problems in our community.”
Vision - “Change Starts somewhere, why not here?”
The YAB membership is open to all youth, is inclusive, and has representation of many intersecting identities.
Founder, President and Executive Director
Joe current volunteers as a Mentor for the Youth Action Board, working with 13–24-year-old youth, many who have lived experience with homelessness, working with the state Continuum of Care, addressing housing needs in South Dakota.
Joe was part of the South Dakota Coordinated Community Plan Team for the YHDP (Youth Homelessness Demonstration Plan) assessing youth needs, goals, objectives, and action steps to help address youth homelessness on a statewide level.
Former Vice Chair of the Policy and Advisory Committee for Continuum of Care, South Dakota.
Volunteer for the West River HIV Health Network.
Member of the Strategic Leadership for the Black Hills Regional Homeless Coalition.
Chair for Communications Committee for the Black Hills Regional Homeless Coalition.
Member of the Youth Task Force Coalition.
Chair for Youth Engagement for Communities That Care.
President of The Rapid City Kiwanis Club.
In his personal life, Joe is the father to one teen son.
Cofounder, Vice President, Facilities Maintenance Director
Lambert has many years of experience in Facilities Management, Operations, Strategic Planning, and Program Management.
Lambert filled various roles in, Operations and Productions Management, Maintenance Management, Supply Chain Management, and Facilities Management, to include construction management, facilities maintenance engineering, production logistics, safety and risk management, and installation and energy conservation.
In his personal life, Miller raised two daughters, has five young grandchildren, one boy, four girls, and is a huge dog lover, specifically the boxer breed.
He also loves camping, tent or RV.
Treasurer, Client Care Programs Advisor
Katie's role as Clinical Operations Manager for the Blalock Taussig Thomas Pediatric and Congenital Heart Center at Johns Hopkins allows her the opportunity to work with children and families as they navigate diagnosis, treatment, and their new normal.
Katie's primary goal is to make it easy for patients, and their loved ones.
Katie is a hugger, and feeder, by nature, and loves that she is able to truly connect with people when they are most vulnerable. So much attention is paid to treating and diagnosing disease, and often the siblings, extended family and friends are not recognized as needing the same level of support, this is where Katie steps in.
Katie and her husband Lowell have two sons, a golden retriever, and two cats.
Secretary, Environmental Impact Advisor
Dr. Tracy, PH.D., started her career with the National Park Service as a seasonal interpretive ranger at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine in the late 1990’s.
After attending graduate school, Tracy started at Everglades National Park in 2007 as a Fisheries Biologist for Florida Bay. She moved to Key West in 2010 to become the Fishery Biologist for Dry Tortugas National Park (DRTO), where she successfully implemented the Science Plan for the Research Natural Area within DRTO.
For three years, she was the service wide marine ecologist for the Natural Resource Stewardship and Science Directorate in the Water Resource Division, where she coordinated national programs on ocean and coastal issues. For the past two years, Tracy has been the Chief of Resource of Management and Science for the National Parks of Eastern North Carolina and was based in Manteo, NC, before moving into her new role as Science Advisor, Inventory and Monitoring Division, at the National Parks Service.
Tracy brings a wealth of experience from the national parks in the Southeast and a strong park management perspective.
Tracy’s passions include traveling to National Parks, running, hiking, SCUBA diving, and being outdoors, especially with her dogs, Panda, Jelly and June Bug. She recently relocated to Colorado, for her new role with National Parks Service.
Mental Health Programs Advisor, Board Member
Stacey has worked in the mental health field for more than thirty years. At Johns Hopkins, she served children and adolescents with psychiatric problems who required intensive outpatient treatment in order to remain in the community but had been unable to access traditional mental health services.
While with the Harford Belair Community Mental Health Program, Stacey worked with individuals with a co-occurring drug addiction and a primary mental illness to help individuals achieve sobriety or maintain sobriety. Stacey also provided case management services to RRP clients.
As a Utilization Review Coordinator for Sheppard Pratt Health System, Stacey evaluates the medical necessity and appropriateness of proposed care in order to promote quality care for a patients.
Stacey has been married for many years and has a very close relationship with her teenage daughter.
Stacey recently adopted a dog and is enjoying watching her puppy Rufus grow.
Domestic and Sexual Violence Program Advisor, Board Member
Dr. Katie, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor at the University of Nebraska—Lincoln where she directs the Interpersonal Violence Research Laboratory.
Using community-based participatory action research, Dr. Edwards seeks to answer two questions in her work: (1) How do we prevent sexual and related forms of violence? and (2) How do we most effectively support survivors in the aftermath of violent victimization?
Much of Dr. Edwards work focuses on minoritized populations, specifically Native American/Indigenous youth and families as well as LGBTQ+ youth.
Dr. Edwards highly values community leadership in developing and evaluating (including the use of decolonized research approaches) strengths-focused, culturally grounded initiatives to prevent and respond to sexual and related forms of violence.
To date, she has published more than 160 peer reviewed journal articles, and over the past 10 years has accrued over 9 million dollars in federal funding from the CDC, NIH, NIJ, OVW, and NSF.
In her free time, Dr. Edwards enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with her partner and their three rescue cats.
Honorary Board Member
Pat Benatar: she’s always been a rule-breaker and a trailblazer, she remains a bold and distinctive artist both on stage and on record, and now, after more than three decades in rock ‘n’ roll, she’s a Bonafide living legend.
A four-time Grammy winner, Benatar is a classically trained mezzo-soprano. During the 1980s, Benatar had two RIAA-certified Multi-Platinum albums, five RIAA-certified Platinum albums, three RIAA-certified Gold albums and 19 Top 40 singles, including the Top 10 hits, "Hit Me With Your Best Shot", "Love Is a Battlefield", "We Belong" and "Invincible".
2022 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee.
During the early days of MTV Benatar was one of the most heavily played artists on the popular music channel.
Her hits continue to be as unforgettable now as they were at the dawn of MTV, when Pat emerged, fearless, fighting and forging a path for other female rock stars around the world.
Honorary Board Member
Neil "Spyder" James Giraldo, has been a professional musician, producer, arranger and songwriter for over four decades now, changing the face of the pop charts throughout the 1980s with his collaborator, muse and wife, Pat Benatar.
More than just an explosive steel bending guitar player, Giraldo’s innovative vision helped him create the signature Benatar sound, from its inception.
His impressive back catalog includes more than 100 songs written, produced, arranged and recorded for Benatar, as well as many hits he helped create for John Waite, Rick Springfield (Number One, Grammy-winning classic “Jessie’s Girl” and Top Ten hit “I’ve Done Everything For You” included), Kenny Loggins (Top Twenty hit “Don’t Fight It” – also Grammy-nominated), Steve Forbert, The Del Lords, Beth Hart and countless others.
2022 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee.
Attorney at Law, Board Member
Margo is an attorney at Julius and Simpson LLP in Rapid City South Dakota, a two-person law firm where she works to represent the interests of injured people, in personal injury and worker’s compensation.
Margo's passions are serving children and families in need.
She has a special interest in connecting with and serving homeless population in the Black Hills area.
Margo is also passionate about equal rights. So, the Family Connections Center was a natural choice for her to commit her time, expertise, and passions.
Margo has been married to her husband for over 28 years and has three adult children- her oldest daughter is an RN, and her two sons are in college, one studying to be an Educator and the other an Engineer.
In her off-work hours, she loves to hike in the beautiful Black Hills. Her boys have recently gotten she and her husband hooked on hiking 14ers in Colorado.
Her boys have summited nearly half of the 58 peaks over 14,000 feet-Margo has a pretty healthy fear of heights, so she is pretty proud to have conquered 3.
Margo believes, in both her work and personal life, that making connections and developing relationships is essential in order for all human beings to thrive.
Margo tries to live her life with the motto “meet people where they are but do your best not to leave them there.”
Technology Strategy Development Advisor, Board Member
Denis Volobuev leads all technology strategy, development, and experience for the flagship retail collaboration center on the heart of the St. Louis Brewery & HQ.
Denis works with retailers to bring a seamless tech experience to the top retailer partners around the country & drive business outcomes for Anheuser-Busch.
Denis is passionate in educating those around him about technology and continually learning more about the space. He is interested in creating & developing technology that would enable youth to be setup for success in their future. Denis is motivated with dreaming big and working towards helping the community.
Denis lives in St. Louis with his boyfriend Matt and they love to spend their free time traveling and watching football.
Mental Health Service Delivery and Outreach Advisor, Board Member
Max currently serves as Mental Health Promotion, Communication, and Literacy Specialist at Stepped Care Solutions.
Max is responsible for developing, managing, and executing outreach plans to promote access to mental health and substance use resources in various jurisdictions.
Max is currently based in Portland, OR.
Max holds degrees in Global Development and Medicine.
Max is currently a Master of Public Health student at Oregon Health and Science University - Portland State University (OHSU-PSU) School of Public Health.
Max has a background in Mental Health Service Delivery, with a focus on increasing access to (Tele)Mental Health Services for children.
Max is building a COVID-19 resource navigation platform with the Institute of People, Places, and Possibility (IP3) and the American Public Health Association (APHA) and providing expertise in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility.
Max likes to go on long hikes and play tennis.
We are seeking passionate, dynamic and diverse board members who can bring new perspectives and life experiences to the team.
We believe that meaningful impact comes from board members who share a deep passion for the mission and who reflect the diverse community we serve.
We encourage people of all backgrounds and lived experience to apply, who believe in creating innovative programming and solutions that address youth homelessness.
We value our board members' time and talents and aim to provide a meaningful experience by engaging board members in the areas where they’d like to contribute.
If you have a direct interest in being a board member, please email Joe Barb directly at email@example.com with a letter of interest.
We hope to hear from you!