TYFS began serving youth and families as a response to a growing heroin overdose epidemic among youth in South Lake Tahoe in October 1971. It was incorporated as a non-profit organization under Section 501(c)3 on July 28, 1975 under the original name, The Awakening Peace. Staff at The Awakening Peace operated a youth drop-in center with a drug and alcohol diversion program to promote sobriety in the community. Recognizing
need for counseling services for their drop-in clients, and with the absence of available resources on Lake Tahoe’s south shore, The Awakening Peace began offering low and no-cost mental health and substance abuse counseling services to the community. The organization changed its name to Tahoe Youth & Family Services in 1989 after receiving federal grant funds to provide Basic Center outreach and support to homeless and runaway youth.