Palm Beach County mentoring program receives national award

Palm Beach County’s Level Up mentoring program received “Best in Category” recognition for Children and Youth Achievement from the National Association of Counties (NACo). The award honors innovative, effective county government programs that strengthen services for residents. 

Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County, Palm Beach County Youth Services Department and United Way of Palm Beach County’s Mentor Center launched the Level Up Enhanced Mentoring Program in 2021 to offer mentoring opportunities for youth ages 11 to 19 who are involved with or at risk of entering the juvenile justice or dependency systems. The goal is to match youth with a long-term, positive role model, make referrals to community-based services, and provide opportunities to continue education or career exploration. When a young person has a consistent supportive adult in their life, they can overcome adversity and build resiliency. Often young people involved in the dependency or delinquency system lack that supportive adult. 

Level Up is available through mentoring hubs around the county. The program served 273 youth last year, 149 of which had mentors. Ninety percent of all youth served did not become involved in criminal activity, and 87 percent of parents/guardians and mentors who attended the program’s trainings improved their knowledge of the juvenile justice and child welfare systems.

“We are beyond proud to support such strong partnerships in Palm Beach County,” said Dr. Lisa Williams-Taylor, Children’s Services Council’s CEO. “Level Up is a perfect example of what can happen when we come together as a community to address the needs of our children and youth.”

Level up is an outgrowth of the Birth to 22: United for Brighter Futures Safety and Justice workgroup, which saw a need for additional support for youth. Birth to 22, a Palm Beach County collective impact initiative, also received NACo’s Achievement Award in the Children and Youth Category in 2018.

“Collaboration is key in providing opportunities for young people in Palm Beach County, and we are very appreciative that the NACo recognizes this unique collaboration with United Way and the Children’s Services Council,” said Tammy K. Fields, Director of Palm Beach County Youth Services.  

The National Association of Counties, founded in 1935, serves nearly 40,000 county elected officials and 3.6 million employees. NACo’s Achievement Awards are given in 18 categories that reflect the vast, comprehensive services counties provide. The categories include children and youth, criminal justice and public safety, county administration, information technology, health, civic engagement and more. One program is selected as Best in Category in each of the categories from all the submissions from across the nation.  

“It is such an honor to be recognized by the National Association of Counties for our collaboration on the Level Up program,” said Dr. Laurie George, President & CEO of United Way of Palm Beach County. “Our intentional focus on youth and mentoring is truly making a significant impact in our community.”

For more information about Level Up, click here.

For more information about NACo’s Achievement Awards, click here.


About United Way of Palm Beach County

For over 93 years, United Way of Palm Beach County has been the local leader dedicated to identifying and addressing critical community issues to improve the lives of our residents.  We champion community change by strategically uniting key stakeholders and community leaders and investing in successful, sustainable nonprofits. United Way funds 110 local programs and initiatives that provide lasting solutions and measurable results – from increasing graduation rates and supporting literacy to ensuring financial independence, promoting healthy lifestyles and ending hunger. When you support United Way of Palm Beach County, you are strengthening your community. To learn more call 561.375.6600 or visit

About Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County

The Council is a local, special-purpose government created by Palm Beach County voters in 1986 and reauthorized in 2014. For more than 30 years, it has provided leadership, funding, services and research on behalf of the county’s children so they grow up healthy, safe and strong.

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