How Idaho License Plates Benefit At-Risk Youth

Did you know you can help Idaho’s young people stay out of trouble by simply buying a license plate?

In 2000 Idaho became the first state in the nation to create America’s Promise Youth license plates.

License plate sales support Idaho’s at-risk youth by funding activities outside of school hours. The program’s goal is to reduce drug and alcohol use, gang activity and school dropout rates among Idaho’s school-age children.

Serve Idaho, part of the Idaho Department of Labor, promotes the youth plate program, tracks expenditures and how each county spends the youth plate funds.

“Idaho kids spend an average of seven hours each week alone after school,” said Serve Idaho’s Alexis Neufeld. “This is when most youth get into trouble, whether it be with drugs, vandalism or generally unsafe behavior.”

“Sixty to 70 percent of proceeds generated by youth license plate sales go to programs that support keeping at-risk youth out of trouble,” Alexis said. “The projects funded include hosting chaperoned senior parties and bringing speakers to school to talk about drug awareness.”

Idaho Youth License PlateLicense plate proceeds stay in the county where the plate is purchased. Funds are dispersed to each local sheriff’s office. From there, the proceeds are provided to organizations to use toward youth programs, supplies and awareness.

“So many great youth programs focus on our larger cities because of the larger population base, but getting into trouble is not a phenomenon limited to Idaho’s big cities,” Alexis said. “By purchasing a youth license plate in your county, you contribute to programs in your own backyard and see your own friends, family and neighbors benefit.”

For every America’s Promise license plate sold, $25 of the $35 fee goes directly to the fund. For every America’s Promise license plate renewal, $15 of the $25 fee goes to the fund. Over the 14 years the plates have been available, more than $600,000 has been raised.

Counties have used the funds in many different ways including:

  • High school drug and alcohol awareness assembly
  • Funding for Big Brothers Big Sisters
  • Halloween Trunk or Treat event
  • Funding high school baseball programs
  • At-risk adventure camp hosted by an athletic club
  • Supervised senior and graduation parties
  • “Stop Bullying” coloring books
  • Funding for Boys and Girls Club programing
  • College prep programs designed for students recognized as likely to drop out

America’s Promise is a national initiative founded by retired General Colin Powell.

See two other public service announcements about the license plate program:

All of the spots feature Idaho talent.