News and Information

YAW Flood Relief Trip Fall 2016

On October 8th, 2016 four college students, twelve high school students, and three parents went to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to help rebuild the Wyandotte Street neighborhood. The trip was organized by YoungAndWiser, Inc., a nonprofit that helps youth grow into productive adults. The idea was developed, and the planning was done by two UTC students, Alexander Gheen and Mindy Rudell - interns in the organization.


Every house on Wyandotte Street was devastated by the flooding that occurred in August. The homes are still uninhabitable. They are just now being gutted in hopes of rebuilding. But rebuilding is not certain. This project depends completely on the good will of others since the homes are not insured for flooding. They never thought this would happen because it never had happened before.

Wyandotte Street is dotted with a mix of owned and rented homes. One homeowner, “Ms. Pat” leaves her son’s house, where she is staying, and arrives at her home every day around 10 AM. She sits at a picnic table and waits. Throughout the day her neighbors trickle in, trying desperately to keep the community together. They visit, they work, and they pray. They are determined to save the community and the bonds of friendship against great odds.


Our group worked diligently for two days and completely gutted one house. It was a moving experience to see the hope on the face of the homeowner. We partnered with staff from NOLA, another nonprofit that mainly plants trees. They have diverted their resources to home reconstruction because of the dire need.


This trip exemplifies the spirit of Young And Wiser. Get involved and experience the joy of having a sense of purpose and discover how important you really are..



Asynchronous Development


This concept of “Asynchrony” means that people grow up at different rates. Some are ahead of their peers or classmates in some ways; and they may be behind in other ways. Of course some are about average.


Focusing on eight different developmental areas helps us see how students or other youth view themselves compared to others. These areas are:











You can do your own developmental profile by clicking here.


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Our Dedicated Team



Tom is a Social Worker and a Developmental and Prevention Educator. He has taught courses on Adolescent and Young Adult Development at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga for over 20 years. During his 25 years as college counselor and faculty he created an effective model for helping youth understand and navigate their own development. Tom is also an expert on Prevention and Treatment of Addictions.




Bergen graduated from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in Public Administration-Nonprofit Management and Communications.


Her award-winning film, “Miniskirts, Mace and Other Misconceptions” (MMOM) dares to change campus culture at it’s very core when it comes to sexual assault. She was a TV News Reporter until, she returned to Chattanooga to work for the Partnership for Children and Families.





Mary is widely known for her financial prowess and has been the CFO in major companies. Her experience in grant writing and finance are major assets for our organizations. Mary lives in Ann Arbor, MI.





Tyler is the Digital Producer for WTCI Public Television. He obtained degrees in Mass Communications and Music. Tyler won an Emmy for WTCI's full-length documentary "From the Streets to the Stage: The Journey of Fredrick Davis," and was nominated for two others for WTCI short documentary films.


Get Involved Today



Since we are a non-profit and most of our services are free to the public, we depend on the generosity of others to be able to provide these vital services. We are always look for volunteers and supporters. PleaSe help us by donating or volunteering.

Apply to volunteer here.

Donate here.





We offer internship opportunities for college students who are self-directed and eager to participate in the operation of the organization and providing services to youth. The title of the position is based on the students role. As this implies the student will have specific duties along with other activates based on their interests, talents and college majors. Below are some of the activities that will be available for interns.

1) Mentoring youth.
2) Developing marketing tools such as brochures, fliers, etc.
3) Creating and conducting presentations for potential donors or supporters of the organization.
4) Recruiting faculty and student speakers.
5) Assisting in development of multimedia training programs for college and high school students.
6) Establishing links with new sponsors.
7) Assisting with conducting meetings, setting agendas and assigning tasks. Of course other opportunities will emerge out of the above.

High School students can complete volunteer hours with us and often can get credit from their school



Alexander is a recent graduate from The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a political science degree in Non-Profit Management. During his time in university, he was a Cultural Ambassador to students who studied abroad in Chattanooga. He finished out his college career with a semester long internship with YoungandWiser and helped coordinate a relief trip to Baton Rouge. He is currently on tour in Germany.


Our Vision and Mission

Vision - YoungAndWiser, Inc. envisions a world in which empowered young adults and adolescents are able to make positive and healthy lifestyle choices with increased awareness and understanding of the developmental challenges they face physically, socially, and emotionally.

Mission - We provide developmental education programs and services and collaborate with educational and other institutions serving adolescents and young adults.



About Us


This organization and the idea behind it were developed by Tom Bissonette, MSW. The underlying concept is simple - yet profound. Most, if not all adolescents and young adults experience developmental delays in one or more areas. The purpose of this organization is to help them catch up to themselves and their peers through life education. We use assessment tools to help youth increase awareness of the challenges they face.


For, example one student might be academically advanced but way behind most of her peers socially. Another might be just the opposite. A third might be ready intellectually and cognitively for college but may lack coping skills - a delay in emotional development. By now you get the picture. But it’s not enough just to be aware of these delays!


That’s where the YoungAndWiser™ approach comes in. We help young people understand what's happening to them by training peers or adult mentors to reach students in a way that reflects understanding of their experiences. We give them the truth and the tools to catch up in the needed areas without falling behind in others. Our motto is, "We Trust Youth with the Truth." Contact us and we’ll show you how to use our method.