5 Addiction Based Nonprofits and Charities that Focus on Youth

By Chelsy Ranard ~ 

Addiction is an issue that plagues all types of people regardless of age, gender, religious background, financial status, or education level. In an attempt to work through prevention, many charities focus on our youth. While drug abuse issues continue to be a problem, there are many organizations that are dedicated to helping those with addiction issues or those that are high risk. Many of these non-profits and charities are created by, or in memory of, celebrities that have battled through their own addiction issues. Whether they are celebrity linked or not, these organizations work to change the stigma of addiction and provide an outlet for people to use to seek help – especially younger people. In a society where so many people battling addiction are cast aside, these charities and nonprofits work to make change.

Amy Winehouse Foundation

Amy Winehouse was an amazing singer that passed away due to her issues with substance abuse in 2011. Her family created this foundation after her death in order to focus on music therapy and education along with drug prevention and rehabilitation. By pairing music with substance abuse education, the hope is to provide support for both. This charity relies on donations, royalties from the album Lioness: Hidden Treasures, her father’s book about Amy, and fundraising events. They have also participated in auctions highlighting some of Winehouse’s belongings to raise funds and awareness in her memory. In 2015, the Amy Winehouse Foundation released their first album, Amy’s Yard – The Sessions: Volume 1, featuring tracks completed by young artists who have been helped through the foundation.

Natural High

Natural High is a non-profit focused on helping our youth find their own thrill in something positive and not something negative, like drugs and alcohol. Celebrities like Mya, Travis Pastrana, Tony Hawk, and Lauren Conrad have provided testimonials about their choices to stay away from drugs. This organization provides support for kids, schools, or educators by allowing them to use their videos and content to anyone that want’s to share their message. Dancers, surfers, musicians, athletes, artists, and Olympians all share their choice to find euphoria in their passion and not drugs. The idea is to show kids that there are healthy ways to push boundaries and many famous faces are offering to use their celebrity and career as an example.

To Write Love on Her Arms

To Write Love on Her Arms is an organization that not only helps with addiction, it also helps with those struggling with depression, self-injury and suicide. This support group is all about providing people with resources and support in a community of people they can feel close to. This organization was more than just a non-profit, it was a movement. The girl that was the inspiration for the project and her journey has been portrayed in a movie by the same name. To Write Love on Her Arms has done an amazing job bridging the gap between those that need help and resources to help them.


Like so many other organizations like these, Shatterproof began after tragedy. Gary Mendell started Shatterproof after losing his son to drug addiction in 2011. Shatterproof works to raise money, change legislation, end stigma, work towards prevention, and offer resources for treatment. This organization stands with the belief that as a community committed to their work with addiction they are shatterproof. With America experiencing an addiction epidemic, Shatterproof makes solution a high priority. Legislation on prescription drugs, insurance, funding, and education have been important platforms for this organization. Thanks to their work, they’ve successfully advocated for legislation in 11 states.

The Herren Project

Chris Herren is a former NBA star that once struggled with an addiction. After being released from the hospital after a heroin overdose, he found himself with no insurance and little money. Friends stepped in and helped him start treatment. After so many others were moved by Herren’s story, he created this organization to help others. The Herren Project works to navigate treatment for addicts on both an inpatient and outpatient level, advocates for legislation, teach prevention strategies, offers grants, awards scholarships, and mentoring. The Herren Project has also created Project Purple which was launched to break the stigma of addiction and bring awareness to the dangers of substance abuse.

Substance abuse is an epidemic and these organizations and countless others are working to fight against this problem instead of watching it expand. Whether it is through educational outreach, preventative efforts or helping patients afford the costs of substance abuse treatment, their efforts help to humanize an issue that many turn a blind eye to due to damaging stigmas. By reaching out to our younger generations, they are working to educate and treat the problem before addiction strikes or fast enough to save someone. Thanks to these non-profits and charities, countless live are being affected in a positive way and changes are being made in the world of addiction.


Author bio: Chelsy is a writer from Montana who is now living in Boise, Idaho. She graduated with her journalism degree in 2012 from the University of Montana. She is passionate about addiction recovery advocacy, loves talk radio, and prefers her coffee cold. Follow her on Twitter!

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