MAYOR'S OFFICE DIVISION OF YOUTH SERVICES (DYS)

Cedric D. Sparks, Sr.
Executive Director
1608 7th Avenue N
Birmingham, AL 35203
Phone: 205-320-0879
FAX 205-322-7713
www.bhamyouthfirst.org
Children with Arms linked

Our Mission

The Mayor’s Office-Division of Youth Services strives to ensure that youth in the City of Birmingham are provided with quality, efficient, and effective programs and services from infancy through adulthood.

Our History

In 1992, a Youth Advisory Commission was formed to address teen pregnancy, education and illiteracy, youth gang violence, drug and alcohol abuse, and unemployment problems affecting Birmingham's youth. From this Commission, the City of Birmingham's Division of Youth Services (DYS) was created.

Ten years later, the SECURE Youth Task Force was commissioned to develop strategies that would help to increase opportunities for self-sufficiency, employability, and the overall quality of life for youth in the City of Birmingham. SECURE is an acronym for Support, Encourage, Counsel, Understand, Respect, and Enrich. To better serve youth in the City of Birmingham, DYS developed a comprehensive approach, based on the strategies outlined by the Task Force.

In 2004, Birmingham was one of twenty-five cities selected to tour Boston, Massachusetts’ After School for All Initiative in an effort to strengthen Birmingham’s after-school and out-of-school system. Shortly after, in 2005, the National League of Cities (NLC) selected DYS to participate in its National Congress of Cities in Charlotte, North Carolina. NLC serves as a resource to and an advocate for more than 18,000 cities, villages, and towns. DYS was chosen to showcase its innovative approach to hundreds of city leaders in attendance. Through its Division of Youth Services, the City of Birmingham continues to incorporate recommendations provided by the Youth Advisory Commission, SECURE Youth Task Force, and the Boston model into program implementation and development.

Our Approach

Birmingham is one of the few municipalities in the country with a division or department that specifically addresses issues directly impacting its youth population. To help accomplish our mission, DYS developed an innovative, four-pronged approach:

  • DYS Disseminates Youth-Related Information
  • DYS Advocates Youth Inclusion & Participation
  • DYS Creates Collaborative Partnerships
  • DYS Assists With Monitoring City-Funded Youth Initiatives

Our Future

With a dedicated staff, a strong commitment from the city’s leadership, solid collaborative partnerships, and diverse community relationships, we will continue to work together to provide youth with opportunities that allow them to flourish. And, because we are a determined team, our primary goal will always be to put Youth First in the City of Birmingham.