Connect
To Top

Meet Lisa Thurau of Strategies for Youth in Cambridge

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lisa Thurau.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I started Strategies for Youth, after seeing how effective training police can be in reducing arrests for low level juvenile offenses. With a training I offered with an MGH psychiatrist, Dr. Jeff Bostic, to the MBTA Transit Police between 2004-2006, we lowed arrests over 84% and saw much better interactions between police and youth. SFY started in 2010. Today we are working in 18 states implementing four strategies:

1) We train officers in developmentally appropriate, trauma-informed, equitable approaches to policing youth, 2) develop policies and practices for policing youth, 3) present customized versions of the Juvenile Justice Jeopardy game to teach youth how to navigate interactions with peers and police and be aware of the legal implications of their behavior, and 4) conduct original research and publish policy reports on ways to strengthen and equip officers with developmentally appropriate approaches to policing youth.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
No. The biggest struggle is the lack of financial support and investment. Foundations in the Massachusetts area have not been supportive; we have had better luck with visionaries on the west coast who saw the importance of equipping officers to work effectively with youth. Sometimes we also encountered major resistance law enforcement officers who did not want the training but came to like it after they’d gone through it. They are now our biggest boosters.

Strategies for Youth – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
SFY specializes in training officers to use developmentally appropriate, trauma-informed, equitable approaches to policing youth. We are known nationally among law enforcement, youth advocates, and government agencies. Our trainings are now being incorporated into state law enforcement academies and in-service training. SFY’s Juvenile Justice Jeopardy game is also very popular and used in states across the U.S. We are also known for several publications on police/youth issues, I am most proud of how we have gently persuaded law enforcement agencies across the country to take a risk with us and use our training. Now many of them rely on us. We have grown from an organization that started with nothing (I exaggerate; we started with $100 in the bank!) to an organization with a budget of $917,000 in just 7 years. I am pleased that the press, media, US Department of Justice, US Department of Education and many youth advocates treat us as the “go to” organization on this topic.

What sets SFY apart from others is that we don’t focus solely on police or solely on youth; by focusing on both together, we are constantly learning from each and benefiting both.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Changing the world in a way that relieves suffering and makes people both hopeful and able to capitalize on their strengths! Personally, that makes me happy. Professionally, it thrills me when we see changes in officers’ and youths’ perceptions. They tell us all the time, “It’s like a light bulb going off.” When I hear that I smile for the week.

Contact Info:

  • Website: www.strategiesforyouth.org
  • Phone: 617-714-3789
  • Email: lht@strategiesforyouth.org
  • Facebook: @StrategiesforYouth
  • Twitter: @strat4youth


Image Credit:
Strategies for Youth

Getting in touch: BostonVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in

  • Fun Things to do in Boston in November

    The editorial team shares some of the most noteworthy events in Boston over the next few weeks. Check them out below and...

    BostonVoyager StaffNovember 13, 2017
  • Boston’s Most Inspiring Stories

    Every neighborhood in the Greater Boston area has its own vibe, style, culture and history, but what consistently amazes us is...

    BostonVoyager StaffNovember 13, 2017
  • 15 Amazing Female Founders Changing the World

    Meet 15 incredible women who aren’t letting the world hold them back. They’ve built hugely successful businesses, created thousands of jobs...

    BostonVoyager StaffApril 10, 2017
  • 8 Cheat-Meal Worthy Pizza Joints

    The cheese, the toppings, the crust…sometimes when you know, you know.  The aroma already feels like you are cheating, long before...

    BostonVoyager StaffMarch 2, 2017
  • Life is Uncertain. Have Dessert Every Day.

    The Top Dessert shops in Boston – handpicked by our editors – one for each day of the week 🙂 1....

    BostonVoyager StaffFebruary 3, 2017
  • Boston’s Most Talked-About Food Trucks

    Food trucks are the heart and soul of Beantown’s emerging street food scene. Below we’ve listed some of Boston’s most hotly...

    BostonVoyager StaffJanuary 7, 2017
  • Seasons of Love

    Kadam Malik, relationship guru and entrepreneur, shares his thoughts about love, romance and dating in the city. I find myself in...

    Kadam MalikDecember 22, 2016
  • 52 Motivational Quotes that Will Change Your Life

    A collection of our quotes of the week from the past year 1. “Work until you no longer have to introduce...

    BostonVoyager StaffDecember 20, 2016
  • The Boston Nightlife Guide Everyone’s Talking About

    How many times have you found yourself wondering what you should do tonight? Boston is an incredibly city, full of world-class...

    BostonVoyager StaffDecember 18, 2016