Teen Spring and Summer Programs with Atlas Youth Outreach

Annie Caputa, Executive Director of Clinical Programs and Jeff Elden, Founder and Executive Director of Operations with Atlas Youth Outreach

My daughter is now a teenager. We are all learning how to navigate these unchartered waters.

If you are in the same boat with teenagers, or care deeply about our youth navigating their future…OUR future…I highly encourage you to check out the non-profit organization: Atlas Youth Outreach.

They have so many fun, engaging, educational events, groups, and opportunities for people of all ages to participate in.

Learn more about them and…

Teenagers…teenagers…teenagers!? That word, alone, conjures up a lot of energy for a lot of people. 

Good, bad, ugly, beautiful?

A range of emotions and differing opinions are not only associated with our own viewpoints of teenagers, but are FELT by teenagers. In addition to the mixture of contrasting reactions to this particular age range, there are also a range of opposing influences and advice that teenagers receive. It is confusing to transition from adolescence to adulthood within our world. 

Be yourself, but follow these rules. 

Speak up, but don’t talk too loudly. 

Stand out, but be part of a team. 

Become technologically savvy, but don’t be on your phone too much. 

Make friends, but focus on your studies and schoolwork. 

The confusion and mixed messages is enough for anyone, of any age, to question their thoughts and behaviors, much less someone who is navigating this world with an enormous amount of changes within their physical, mental, emotional, and social identity. 

It is a lot to navigate being a teenager, yet many of us forget how confusing life at this age is. It was within endless hours of working with teenagers, both in individual sessions, and within school group sessions that Annie Caputa (MSW, LCSW, CCTP) and Jeff Elden (MA, LPC) found there to be an extreme need for teenagers to have more direction in our local area. 

When working with teenagers, families, and schools within Jefferson County, Annie and Jeff were coming up empty-handed when there was a need for additional help, outside of the school setting. Prior to the start of their nonprofit organization, there were little to no resources available to adolescents and teens, within our community, for reduced or no cost services. Seeing the benefits of group work, and how much need there was, they created Atlas Youth Outreach, a safe, therapeutic environment for adolescents ages 11-18 in Jefferson County.

Located in Arnold, Missouri, they are proud of the colorful and comforting home away from home that they have created. The Atlas Youth Outreach team offers proactive and reactive group sessions that support social and emotional growth. They have developed specific courses such as conflict resolution, anger management, healthy relationships, self-esteem, and more. Most sessions run for six weeks, with each group having a limited number of students, typically no more than 12, to ensure there is quality within the interactions. Since the ages of 11-18 is a substantial range, in terms of emotional development, Annie and Jeff are extremely cognizant of age-appropriate topics, given the mixed maturity levels.

Regardless of a family’s financial level, Atlas Youth Outreach focuses on removing all barriers that would block someone from being able to benefit from participating in a program. Once students are within their comforting environment, Annie and Jeff also focus to remove the fearful or limiting barriers that may be blocking someone from authentically opening up. They believe connection is achieved through vulnerability. They help to encourage this energy by providing education and activities to invite adolescents to be open in how they share and in how they support others, as well. 

The physical space within Atlas Youth Outreach is supportive of anything, and everything, that teenagers would want to feel calm, comfortable, courageous, creative, and compassionate. Comfortable chairs, yoga mats, cozy pillows, tasty snacks, itty-bitty fidgets, fun art supplies, helpful personal hygiene products, and more. You name it, they have it! It is a chill and cheerful place for teens to feel welcomed and safe, within those walls. 

Also impressive was the beautiful artwork on the walls. One piece of artwork particularly stood out to me as it had colorful fingerprints on it. Annie and Jeff explained that one teenager wanted to “leave her mark” and pass on an imprint for future teens. This has now created a tradition for transitioning teens, to leave their fingerprint as art on the wall.

Leaving an imprint, while helping to foster a foundation for adolescents to live a positive life not only affects that individual, it also impacts the greater good of our community. After all, regardless of what we think of teenagers, they are the future of our world. May we have patience and compassion for this unique stage of life, while supporting all who interact with teenagers, especially those who are actively and intentionally helping them navigate their future.

“We cannot always build a future for our youth, but we can always build our youth for the future.”

  • Franklin D. Roosevelt

If any of this resonates, I invite you to reach out. This is a non-paid endorsement, encouraging you to learn more about impactful nonprofit organizations within our community. How might you help to spread the word, volunteer, donate, attend an event, or simply connect to ask what is needed?

Thank you, to Annie, Jeff and the Atlas Youth Outreach board and team, for actively and intentionally cultivating all that Atlas Youth Outreach offers our community. 

Atlas Youth Outreach

Atlas Youth Outreach is a 501(c)(3) located at: 

1623 Jeffco Blvd. Suite 202

Arnold, MO 63010, in Jefferson County

If you send them an email, you can request to be on their email mailing list to learn about future events and group offerings. 

I first learned about the how Atlas Youth Outreach helps to navigate adolescents when they presented at Twin City Area Optimist Club:

Twin City Area Optimist Club

One place we celebrated my daughter’s 13th birthday:

An Enhanced Dine-In Experience at Tokyo Hibachi

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