Smart Choices for Youth, Inc. formally known as Wayne County Youth Outreach Program, Inc. changed its name as of January 1, 2005 because of the expanded services we provide to surrounding counties. Smart Choices for Youth, Inc. has been dedicated to the needs and services of at-risk and disadvantaged youth in Wayne and Wilson counties since 1989. In January 1990, the first component, the Governor's One-On-One Volunteer Program, was awarded to the organization as a statewide initiative. Later, two after school programs, Project H.E.L.P. (Helping Equip Little People) and Operation L.O.V.E. (Leaving Out Violence Entirely), were awarded to Smart Choices for Youth, Inc. through the Governor's Crime Commission. Daryl M. Woodard founded Smart Choices for Youth, Inc., since its inception and has been Executive Director of the organization since 1989.
In 1993, Smart Choices for Youth, Inc. was awarded the prestigious Gould-Wysinger Award from the United States Department of Justice. (Note: This organization was the only program awarded this honor in the state of North Carolina for pioneering after-school programs). The next year, Governor Jim Hunt visited the organization and discussed appropriate initiatives for juvenile delinquency prevention. Other programs such as Project T.R.A.I.N. (Training Redirecting Adolescents In Need), and Project P.R.E.S.S. (People Reassuring Effective Social Strength) were also funded by the Governors Crime Commission to serve youth in the Wayne County area.
Due to the success of programming for youth and families in Wayne County, SCFY was able to expand its borders to Wilson County. In 1997, Project U.N.I.T.Y. (Unlocking New Ideas Toward Youth) was funded to address young males in nearby Wilson County. Project U.N.I.T.Y.'s success spurred other programs in Wilson, NC such as Project G.I.R.L.S. (Girls In Real Life Situations), and the Governor's SOS (Support Our Students). Support Our Students is a statewide initiative funded throughout North Carolina. During the same time periods Wayne County gained two new programs, Operation R.E.A.C. H. (Reaching Each Child Holistically), and Positive Peers Mentoring Initiative. The Governor's One-On-One Volunteer Program also gained an Americorp Fellow to assist with mentor recruitment in Wayne, Wilson, and Lenoir Counties.
Currently the Smart Choices for Youth, Inc., has continued its intervention/prevention efforts in Wilson and Wayne Counties. The agency currently houses two full-time Governor's One-On-One volunteer programs and the Governor's Support Our Students Program, both funded through the North Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. In July of 2004, SCFY was awarded another Governor's Crime Commission Grant called Smart Choices to serve the youth of Wilson County. Also, in August of 2004 SCFY was awarded a Mentoring Children of Prisoners Grant from the Department of Health and Human Services.
In the new millennium SCFY experienced some very exciting changes and turn of events for the organization. The Executive Director, Daryl M. Woodard was appointed to the Governors Crime Commission and the North Carolina commission on volunteerism and community service in 2000 and 2001. In 2002 the Governors One-on-One Volunteer Corporations and private institutions have also been supportive of Smart Choices for Youth, Inc. Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, Coca-Cola, Cisco Systems, and Wachovia Bank have all assisted through matching grants and donations.