Who We Are

National Center for Youth Issues provides educational resources, training and support programs to foster the healthy psychosocial, emotional, and physical development of children and youth. Since our founding in 1981, NCYI has established a reputation as one of the country’s leading providers of teaching materials and training for counseling and student support professionals. NCYI helps meet the immediate needs of struggling children throughout the nation by ensuring those who mentor them are well prepared to respond across the developmental spectrum.

To date, NCYI has placed materials in and provided training to over 35,000 schools in all 50 states. Last year alone, NCYI placed more than 60,000 counseling resources in schools throughout the country. The range of issues addressed has grown substantially throughout our history, encompassing subjects ranging from bullying and violence prevention, to drug and alcohol abuse, childhood depression, suicide, and character development. As the role of student support workers continues to expand, NCYI has broadened the range of topics addressed, offering resources to address such challenges as: Internet safety, childhood obesity, psychosocial and emotional implications of chronic disease, self-injury, ADHD, bi-polar and autism spectrum disorders.

NCYI hosts local, regional, and statewide “Healthy Choices for Youth” educator training events (with over 8,000 educators trained), and provides conference management services to help school districts, nonprofits, and government agencies as they work to improve life outcomes for children and youth. Our goal is to uphold good, sound moral standards as a model for young people in their daily lives; to craft our materials and services with time-honored principles, written in a format acceptable and welcome in public schools; and to become a beacon, shining the light of virtue and illuminating the benefits of making positive, healthy choices into the classrooms of America.


Our History

In 1981, Project 714 was founded to address drug abuse in one Chattanooga high school. The organization evolved into STARS (Students Taking a Right Stand), a single-focus provider of substance abuse prevention and intervention mentorship programs. We learned that much destructive behavior is part of an overall problem in the lives of students – moral confusion, a lack of positive core values, and the absence of a coordinated system of assistance from trusted adults.

We began to develop materials, curricula and support programs to teach good character traits, basic civic virtues, and habits for healthy living. Word of our programs quickly spread to schools outside Hamilton County, TN generating a national constituency and a new name – National Center for Youth Issues. Today, we are known as one of the primary resources for character education and life-skills development materials, training and services. More than 35,000 schools across the country have used materials and services provided by NCYI, influencing the lives of over twelve million children and youth. One of our guiding principles is captured in the words of Theodore Roosevelt who said, “to educate a person in mind and not in morals is to create a menace to society.”

Our goal is to uphold sound virtues as a model for young people in their daily lives; to craft our materials and services with time-honored, research-based principles, written in a format acceptable and welcome in public schools; and to act as a beacon, shining the light of virtue and illuminating the benefits of making positive, healthy choices into the classrooms of America.

Our Vision

The National Center for Youth Issues aspires to be America’s premier clearinghouse for resource materials, training and support services to advance the psychosocial, emotional, physical, character, and life-skill capacities of today’s children and youth.

To accomplish this goal, we will:

  • Provide relevant teaching tools and resources, providing these to entities able to most effectively impact the largest number of children and youth.
  • Proactively identify trends in youth issues, providing timely and culturally diverse response resources.
  • Develop strategic partnerships with like-minded organizations and recognized authorities on youth culture and development.
  • Utilize electronic and print media to disseminate helpful information to those working to advance the health and well-being of children and youth.
  • Participate in, promote, manage and conduct local, regional, statewide and national educator training conferences.
  • Maintain the highest standard of professional business conduct, ethics and accountability.

Programs & Services

Training Events High quality professional development at local, regional, statewide and national training events hosted by NCYI.

Speaker’s Bureau Expert, nationally-recognized presenters and facilitators for your own professional development events and conferences. Customized for any organization or youth issue.

Managed Conferences A full spectrum of conference management services, enabling schools, districts, nonprofits and government agencies to host their own high quality youth development events.

Video & Print Resources Hundreds of videos, books/storybooks, curricula, games and activities to address specific youth issues. These include perennial classics, such as Broken Toy, classroom editions of VeggieTales, workbooks and instructional manuals like Tales of TemperMending Heartsand Tyler Tames the Testing Tiger. Want to Write for Us?

Consulting Services On-site expertise to craft strategic responses to specific problems and issues arising in schools, housing authorities, youth organizations, parents’ groups and houses of worship.

Research Research initiatives, and monitoring of other research initiatives, related to youth issues and character education.

Public Advocacy Advancing awareness of current youth issues among the media, government and the public.

Board of Directors

Robert D. Rabon | President
National Center for Youth Issues

Timothy M. Gibbons | Secretary
Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel, P.C.

Mark A. Caldwell
Caldwell Management Group, Inc.

J. Thomas Glenn
Ace Hardware of Chattanooga

Dr. Jimmy R. Lee
Living Free, Inc.

Dr. Stephen B. Lepley
President & CEO
The Lepley Group

Tony D’Andrea
Senior Vice President, Investments
Raymond James

V.T. Murray
Livingston Company

Dr. Helen Stiff-Williams
Professor of Education
Regents University