Runaway & Youth Services (RAYS)

Supporting at-risk youth through free mediation, prevention, and early intervention services

Enriching the future of youth and families through quality programming and partnerships

Foundations added the RAYS (Runaway & Youth Services) to its programs in January 2021. The program works to improve the network of support to both youth and their families through confidential and voluntary crisis intervention and referral services. Most services are offered free or for a minimal fee.

Each year, nearly 30,000 Wisconsin families are confronted with a crisis – a teen runaway. Teens can run away from home for a variety of reasons, but the most common is unresolved conflict caused by misunderstandings and lack of communication. We help young people and their families navigate through these difficult times.


  • Provide at-risk youth with needed skills and tools
  • Provide basic needs
  • Prevent family dissolution
  • Promote self-sufficiency
  • Strengthen families

Programs and Services

Mediation – Free, confidential, and voluntary short-term mediation is available for both youth and their families.Teen Talking

Note: Mediation is focused on helping participants making decisions to help them resolve a specific conflict. Mediation is not counseling.

  • One-on-One Mediation – Weekly goal-focused, strength-based sessions for individuals aged 10-17 (18 if still in school) run for 10 weeks. A RAYS teammate works with the young person to set goals and work toward resolution. One-on-one mediation is tailored to each individual’s needs and can take place at the student’s school or at RAYS.
  • Family¬†Mediation – Mediation is also available to families who need help working through challenges with their children aged 10-17 (18 if still in school). These sessions can take place in the family home or at RAYS and are scheduled once per week for 10 weeks. Families work to identify their own mediation goal.

Drop In Center Рa safe environment to hang out, get help with homework, and participate in programs

Free Youth Food/Hygiene Pantry

Youth OutreachAsking for help is difficult for anyone, especially teenagers. That’s why we have street outreach teams who connect with young people in the places they normally gather. It’s our way of letting them know that we care about their safety and well-being.

Educational Programs – RAYS offers informational presentations and group workshop opportunities to shools, community organizations, churches and businesses on a variety of topics.

Most services are offered free or for a minimal fee.