Spectrum Youth and Family Services


Burlington Moms Blog Spotlight on Spectrum Youth and Family Services

“The BVTMB is excited to announce our newest monthly series on local non-profit organizations in our community. Each month our team we will highlight a different non-profit with the hopes to educate and support all of the fabulous things they do. We encourage you to read, comment, and share what non-profit organizations are close to your hearts and families.”


Spectrum Youth and Family Services started in 1970 under the name SHAC (Shelter Action). What started out as a shelter for runaway youth has evolved into a nationally recognized organization that serves 2,000 Vermont teenagers, young adults, and their family each year.

Spectrum aims to empower teenagers, young adults, individuals with a history of violence, and their families to adopt and maintain positive changes through prevention, intervention, and life skills services. To support their mission, Spectrum offers a variety of services for youth in the community.

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Spectrum provides confidential screening, assessment, and treatment of mental health and substance abuse concerns for individuals ages 12-26 and their families. Spectrum staff members are trained as clinical mental health and substance abuse counselors, and use evidence-based best practices that are individually tailored to help each individual and family.

Drop-in Center

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Spectrum runs a Drop-In Center for young adults ages 14-24. The center is a safe and welcoming place for young people to have access to a meal, use a computer or phone, do laundry, take a shower, and have other basic needs met.

Supportive Housing

Spectrum operates two types of supportive housing for homeless and at-risk youth: an emergency shelter and transitional housing. The shelter provides basic needs and resources for youth, and helps them assess their needs, future goals, and plan for permanent housing. The transitional housing program assists residents in developing independent living skills through a structured and supportive environment. Youth who are successful at the shelter have the opportunity to move to Spectrum’s transitional housing.

Health Center

The Pearl Street Youth Health Center offers appointment and walk-in medical care for youth and young adults up to age 25. The health center is operated by the Community Health Centers of Burlington.

Skills Program

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Spectrum offers several programs aimed at helping young adults build the skills necessary to navigate the challenges and struggles associated with transitioning to independent adulthood. The programs focus on improving and enhancing eight key areas: housing, employment, health and mental health, hard and soft skills, goal setting, assessing needs and strengths, and higher education. In addition to these services, Spectrum also offers mentoring programs and intervention and prevention services.

Spectrum operates its programs in Burlington and St. Albans. Additionally, they operate programs specifically targeted at domestic violence intervention and prevention in eight of Vermont’s twelve counties.

In addition to their numerous awards and accomplishments, Spectrum Youth and Family Services has helped thousands of young adults realize their potential, turn their lives around, and contribute to their community in ways they may have never imagined possible.

Interested in being a part of what Spectrum is doing?? Spectrum’s Sleep Out is happening on March 26th and you can help! This event is where business and community leaders will come together to help raise awareness of youth homelessness. They will be spending the night sleeping outside as a show of solidarity with the many clients Spectrum serves who may be homeless or at risk of homelessness. You can help Spectrum reach their fundraising goals by making a donation or sponsoring a participant today!



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