About Us

Our History



Tahoe Youth & Family Services (TYFS) is a private non-profit organization whose mission is:

“To promote the healthy development of children, families, and individuals through counseling, mentoring, and support programs.”

TYFS began serving youth and families as a response to a growing heroin overdose epidemic among youth in South Lake Tahoe in October 1971. It was incorporated as a non-profit organization under Section 501(c)3 on July 28, 1975, under the original name, The Awakening Peace. Staff at The Awakening Peace operated a  drug and alcohol diversion program to promote sobriety in the community. Recognizing the need for counseling services, and with the absence of available resources on Lake Tahoe’s south shore, The Awakening Peace began offering low and no-cost mental health and substance abuse counseling services to the community. 

The organization changed its name to Tahoe Youth & Family Services in 1989 after receiving federal grant funds to provide Basic Center Program outreach and support to homeless and runaway youth. Our organization’s current operations include, but are not limited to:

  • Individual and Family Counseling;
  • Substance Abuse Treatment and Prevention;
  • Behavioral Health Counseling Services in local schools and at the El Dorado County Juvenile Treatment Center in South Lake Tahoe;
  • Play Therapy for young children;
  • Community-based youth Mentoring Programs;
  • 24-hour Crisis Line for runaway, homeless, and street youth to access emergency shelter;
  • Basic Center Programs and two  Drop-in/Resource Centers providing supportive services for runaway, homeless, and street youth;
  • Emergency shelter via host homes for youth up to the age of 18;
  • Referrals between community-based and governmental agencies through MOU’s and contracts

TYFS’ expansion as a regional service provider began with the opening of a Gardnerville, Nevada office in 2008 that offered mental health counseling and substance abuse prevention and treatment for residents of Douglas County. TYFS also opened a second Drop-In Center in the Gardnerville Ranchos which includes a drug-free skateboard park in an area notorious for youth drug use and delinquent behavior. TYFS organized a community-based mentoring program in Douglas County to increase preventative services for at-risk youth. 

The mentoring program spilled over into neighboring Alpine County, California that same year due to the proximity and similarity of the two communities and despite a state border between them.