Founded in 1970, Spectrum is a nationally recognized leader in helping youth ages 12-26* and their families turn their lives around. Each year, we serve 1,500 teenagers, young adults, and their family members.
*Please check individual programs for age ranges specific to them.
Our programs for youth are centered in Burlington and St. Albans.
Our Mission & Vision
Our mission is to empower teenagers, young adults, and their families to make and sustain positive changes through prevention, intervention, and life skills services.
- We envision a world where those who face great challenges realize their vast human potential.
- We believe people can change their lives.
- We believe this happens when people find their motivation to change.
- We believe that as people change their lives, the individual, family and community are transformed.
In 1970, a group of community members wanted to start a shelter to house the growing number of at-risk youth who were running away from foster homes. The Burlington Ecumenical Action Ministry teamed up with this group of concerned citizens to found SHAC, which stood for Shelter Action and later became known as Spectrum Youth & Family Services.
Basic Needs and Supportive Housing: We provide necessities like a warm place to get a meal or do laundry, along with an emergency shelter and longer term transitional housing for homeless or at-risk youth and those in or aging out of foster care.
Skills Programs: We offer coaching and mentoring for young people on basic life and survival skills, such as getting an education, finding and keeping a job, finding a place to live, or getting a driver’s license so that they can transition successfully to adulthood.
Prevention and Intervention: Through counseling, we help young people address substance abuse, mental health issues, patterns of violence, and other critical issues that stand in the way of a happy, thriving adulthood. A mentoring program helps build the self-esteem of youth.
Watch Mark Redmond, our Executive Director, describe some of the programs that we offer:
Awards and Accomplishments
- In 2018, Executive Director Mark Redmond was awarded the Pizzagalli Excellence Award, which is given given to those individuals who go about making the world a better place by making a bigger difference than usual and by delivering excellence.
- In 2016, Executive Director Mark Redmond was named Champlain College’s 2016 Distinguished Citizen. He received the award from President Donald J. Laackman and the Board of Trustees at the College’s Convocation on Friday, August 26th, 2016.
- Also in 2016, Mark Redmond received the Burlington Rotary Service Above Self Award at the annual Queen City Police Foundation awards luncheon.
- The New York Times profiles Spectrum’s Rapid Referral Program because of its efficacy at reducing re-offenses among youth charged with drug and alcohol related crimes, 2013
- Our counseling program is given the Innovation Award in Substance Abuse Services by the State Associations of Addiction Services and NIATx, 2010
- Spectrum is recognized as Agency of the Year by the National Network for Youth, 2009
- In 2007, Spectrum worked with a coalition of former and current foster youth, state agencies, community groups, and individuals to change the upper age limit for youth in foster care from 18 to their 22nd birthday—a key support for helping these youth transition to a successful adulthood.