Youth Odyssey Revealed: Giving Wisely

GLA-Logo-transparentYouth Odyssey is once again participating in Give Local America!

In their own words “Give Local America is a 24-hour crowdfunding event designed to empower every person to give back to their local communities by supporting the organizations they trust to tackle today’s most critical issues.”

Tax exempt organizations are the fastest growing sector of the U.S. economy, and it can be hard to know where to donate your resources. As a donor, it’s important to know where your money is going and what is being done with it. We decided to make that a little easier by giving you Youth Odyssey’s answer to the Charities Review Council’s top questions to ask before donating.

What is the exact name of the charity?Mentor Workday

Youth Odyssey Inc

How does the charity use your contribution? The Council recommends that at least 70 percent of a charitable organization’s total expenses should be used for program services.

An organization’s overhead is a combination of administrative and fundraising costs. Administrative costs include items such as office supplies, non program staff salary, and insurance. Here at Youth Odyssey, we’re dedicated to keeping our overhead low. We have one administrator and all staff work from home offices. This dedication results in an overhead of 27% of our total operating budget. That means for every dollar donated, $0.73 goes directly towards the programs and services that matter to you.

What are the organization’s unique mission and programs?

Just One WordYou’ve probably heard it before, Youth Odyssey is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit on a mission to provide at-risk youth, ages 10-17, with positive youth development through adventure programming. Now what exactly does that look like? Youth Odyssey has four different levels of programing. The first level is our Portable Team Challenge which consists of a facilitator working with up to 15 youth onsite. Onsite could mean at different youth agencies, middle schools, or recreation centers. Here, the youth are introduced to our six life skills, communication, problem solving, goal setting, trust, leadership, and teamwork, which make up our onsite curriculum. Ropes CourseThe next step of programing is held out at Youth Odyssey’s very own ropes course. Challenge by choice, the idea of going as far as each individual is capable in a safe, no judgement zone,  empowers youth to zip line, walk on tight ropes, scale a rock wall, and complete different levels of activities. It is during these activities that youth are able to put the life skills they’ve been working on to use. After the ropes course, the excitement is stepped up a notch with an Adventure Wilderness Trip. During these trips, youth spend two nights away from home in one of the beautiful state parks of Texas. There, they are responsible for cooking for themselves, setting up their own tents, and choosing leaders and activities for the group. It is on these trips youth truly realize the power they have over their own lives, and Youth Odyssey is proud to have facilitated many life changing moments. Our last level of programming is a graduation ceremony, highlighting the accomplishments of each youth, not only from the facilitator, but also from other youth in the program. After graduation, youth are better equipped to handle the challenges life will throw their way.

What outcomes has this charity seen through its work? 

Smiling FacesWhat a great opportunity to brag!  Local city agencies have identified areas within Corpus Christi where the majority of individuals have a household income at or below the poverty line. Youth Odyssey works specifically with youth from these areas and with youth living in low income housing centers. In filling out the Youth Odyssey application form, parents are able to complete a voluntary section, which asks for the annual household income. Of those that responded to the question, 98% earn $24,000 or less, the Federal poverty line.  From this group of students, Youth Odyssey relies on counselor and parent recommendations, as well as word of mouth reviews from involved students, to recruit students with the most need at each school or youth agency. Youth Odyssey then evaluates its program effectiveness through a pre and post assessment survey for the development of the six life skills; adjunct youth agency evaluation; volunteer evaluation; parent evaluations; and a report prepared by the facilitator that includes direct observations of the group and individuals. Our program improvement goal is 75% improvement in each skill. Last year’s evaluated improvement was 87% of youth saw an increase in their abilities to successfully communicated, 90% felt more confident as leaders, 90% became better problem-solvers, 91% had an increase in self-confidence, 89% were better able to work in a team, and 90% of youth reported an increased ability to trust others around them.

Is your contribution tax deductible?

As a 501(c)3 organization, all donations are tax deductible.

How accountable is the organization?

Here at Youth Odyssey, we are proud of our transparency and you can find our IRS 990 right here. While you’re there, take a second to poke around and read what other people have to say about the work we’ve been doing since 1997.


Feel free to contact us at if you have any other questions. Click here for our Give Local America webpage. We look forward to partnering with you on May 5 for the Day of Giving!!