Richmond YPQI

Improve the Quality of Youth Programs

The United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg and The VCU Mary and Frances Youth Center are excited to reach out with some important news about the Richmond Youth Program Quality Intervention (YPQI) program.

Beginning July 1, 2020, United Way will assume full responsibility for the day-to-day operations of Richmond YPQI. The Mary and Frances Youth Center will expand its role in providing training for youth development professionals in the Richmond region.

Both of our organizations remain committed to quality youth programming. We look forward to the next chapter of Richmond YPQI and continuing to serve the youth development community in the Richmond region.

Additional details and contact information for YPQI are available here.

Richmond Youth Program Quality Intervention (YPQI) is a nine-month continuous improvement process that includes:

  • self and external assessments of program quality
  • site-level improvement planning
  • individualized coaching visits
  • skill-building trainings for youth workers and program managers

Currently, 56 sites across the Greater Richmond & Petersburg region are participating in YPQI, to improve program safety, instructional quality, youth engagement, and youth empowerment.

As a first time site, our experience with YPQI provided a valuable lens to identify how our middle school programs tap into youth’s strengths and aid in building resilience. The YPQI program has helped us deepen our engagement with young people and provide meaningful, healthy experiences for Richmond area teens. We are grateful for United Way’s commitment to keeping our kids engaged – mentally, physically and emotionally – while they look ahead to high school and adulthood. 

Nadia Gooray, Executive Director – Project Yoga Richmond

Richmond YPQI History

A 2009 needs assessment of youth program staff in metro Richmond indicated the need for a quality improvement process, and identified United Way as the convener and implementer of a continuous quality improvement program. Research on quality improvement programs and assessment tools led to the selection of the YPQI and with initial support from the Forum for Youth Investment; YPQI came to the Greater Richmond Region in January 2012, as a partnership with Hanover County Youth Services. Since 2012, Richmond YPQI has grown from 5 participating programs to 45 in the 2016-2017 cohort.

Currently the program is delivered in partnership with VCU’s Mary and Frances Youth Center including leadership, shared staffing and use of the facilities for training.

For more information, contact Frank Cardella ( or Charles Johnson (

YPQIPyramidImageThe Pyramid of Youth Program Quality

There are Four Key building blocks which shape the curriculum, assessment, trainings and ideals of YPQI:

  1. Safe environment: Physical safety, emotional safety and inclusive practices.
  2. Supportive Environment: Supportive environment through welcoming, conflict resolution, active learning, encouragement and skill-building.
  3. Interaction: Interaction through cooperative learning and leadership opportunities.
  4. Engagement: Higher order engagement through choice, planning and reflection.