Reclaiming Youth International (RYI) became a 501 (c) 3 organization in 1997. The work of RYI is dedicated to the development and dissemination of proactive policy, training, research, programs and strategies to better serve children and youth who are in conflict in family, school and community. RYI provides strength-based training designed to cultivate the potential of all. The organization provides resources to various stakeholders in order to shift thinking from neglect, lack of knowledge, and disrespect for challenging youth and families to support, understanding and respect. RYI draws on the strengths of youth professionals, family advocates, community policy leaders, researchers, and young people themselves in the search for positive, practical solutions. The organization is connected and collaborates both nationally and internationally with other organizations with like-minded goals.
Larry Brendtro was the founding director of Reclaiming Youth International. Steve Van Bockern and Martin Brokenleg served as vice presidents in the early years of development. Currently, Mark Freado serves as the Executive Director of RYI. Headquarters is located in Lennox, South Dakota, a community approximately 20 miles southwest of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
RYI senior trainers address a multitude of topics including: creating healthy school communities, serving troubled and troubling students, bulling prevention, creating safe and caring schools, working with students in emotional crisis, resiliency building, best practice teaching, drug/alcohol prevention, cultural and spiritual roots of youth, crisis intervention and prevention, supporting families on the edge, understanding the brain and assessment.
The "voice" of RYI is the quarterly journal Reclaiming Children and Youth. The journal blends theory and practice. Its mission is to network those concerned with reclaiming children and youth in conflict.
Each year, RYI conducts annual seminars, most notably the Black Hills Seminars held in Rapid City, South Dakota during the month of June. Leading-edge practitioners and researchers offer practical, tested strategies in working with troubled and troubling youth. RYI has also offered seminars on yearly bases in Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada during the month of April. Other seminars or conferences are often held each fall of the year in various locations.
RYI offers training various trainings. A description of the trainings can be found on this website. A bookstore with professional resources is available.
The work of Reclaiming Youth International is an outgrowth of the philosophical perspective called the Circle of Courage™, as explained in the book Reclaiming Youth at Risk: Our Hope for the Future by Brendtro, Brokenleg and Van Bockern. The model represents the four universal needs for positive growth: belonging, mastery, independence and generosity.