Advancing youth, families and effective practices

AHM Youth and Family Services is steadfastly committed to the social and emotional needs of children in Andover, Hebron, Marlborough and Columbia. A 501(c)3 nonprofit, the agency emphasizes responsible spending on targeted services and leverages a team of highly skilled staff and scores of dedicated volunteers. As a result, they consistently and efficiently deliver exceptional programming and meaningful impact.

“I am so grateful to work alongside such an amazing team,” shared AHM executive director Michelle Hamilton. “And I cannot overstate the importance of our partnerships with individuals, businesses, civic and faith groups, schools, and municipal governments across the towns we serve. All facets of our community truly come together through AHM to support our children and families.”

This level of organizational strength, participation and support does not develop overnight. AHM has been serving their community for over 30 years, and has worked diligently over the past decade to grow thoughtfully and earn their reputation.

For many local families, AHM is an important community resource helping children and teens reach milestones, navigate life challenges, and realize their potential.

AHM’s 37 programs support the whole child, from birth through high school, in the areas of positive youth and family development, prevention, intervention, and juvenile justice. From the infant program at AHM’s Family Resource Center, to their celebrated Lanterns Mentoring Program, to their new intergenerational work program (CHORES) that pairs teens with area seniors, there is something for everyone—but the mix of programming is quite intentional and focused.

AHM’s decision making is guided by both its mission and data. For 10 years, AHM has used Results Based Accountability (RBA) for program tracking and evaluation. The data has been used to help improve the quality of programs, justify the continuation of local funding, and support program proposals to private foundations and contributors. Most importantly, AHM has used RBA to answer the critically important question: Are clients better off because of its programs? The answer time and time again has been resoundingly affirmative.

“Columbia joined AHM in 2013. When town leaders considered the best means to serve its youth and families, they researched a variety of options,” recalled Hamilton, “We ultimately decided to work with AHM due to their scope of quality services, cost efficiency and great results.”

Several of AHM’s programs have been especially innovative and transformative. Their comprehensive mental health services can be accessed through a community-based center and school-based social workers, and is largely subsidized through the uniquely designed Children’s Trust Fund. Their Juvenile Review Board has emerged as a model for regional and rural services directed at first-time juvenile offenders, and has been replicated in other communities around Connecticut.

AHM’s partnerships have been critical to building their capacity and efficacy.

AHM has leveraged many partnerships throughout the state, including the regional Hunger Action Team, Connecticut Youth Services Association, and CT Family Resource Alliance. Additionally, “the Hartford Foundation has been a rock-solid partner and investor in AHM Youth and Family Services, dating back to the agency’s formation in 1983,” according to Hamilton.

The Foundation’s first grant to AHM was to help develop its first strategic plan. Since then, AHM has earned support for capital projects, technology and financial systems development, and program grants. AHM was also awarded a three-year General Operating Support grant in 2015, in the amount of $195,000 ($65,00 per year). AHM regularly participates in the Nonprofit Support Program’s Strategic Technology Program and continues to use Technical Assistance Grants to fund strategic planning. Hamilton has been AHM’s executive director for two years and has already participated in NSP trainings for human resources, financial management, and executive management.

Learn more about the comprehensive range of capacity-building programs offered by the Foundation’s Nonprofit Support Program.

“Our unique and lasting partnership with the Hartford Foundation has had a major influence on AHM’s history. On many different levels, the Foundation has helped to make AHM the outstanding organization that it is today,” asserted Hamilton.

The Foundation is proud to partner with organizations like AHM that are committed to delivering their mission with the highest integrity. Nonprofit capacity building is critical to the investments the Foundation makes in the Greater Hartford region and to ultimately advancing thriving communities.