YES! is a nonprofit organization that empowers youth, in partnership with adults, to create community change. We equip high school aged youth and their adult allies with the tools necessary to take a stand in their communities and create change that will positively impact adolescent health.
YES! provides training and support so that our partners gain a heightened awareness about their issue of interest, and learn how to identify and take advantage of opportunities to engage in local, national, and international advocacy work. Youth become competent community advocates by receiving training in such areas as public speaking, media literacy, community assessment, gathering community support, working with policymakers, and evaluation.
Additionally, YES! provides support to adults and organizations by offering training and technical assistance so that they may be better allies to empowered youth. We provide networking opportunities, encourage partnerships and assess organizations’ youth empowerment capacity and application of the Youth Empowerment Model.
Our advocacy work is centered on strategies that empower youth to address critical issues facing their communities: teen tobacco use, childhood obesity, substance abuse and access to healthcare.
YES! not only effectively advocates for its mission, it lives its mission. In many nonprofit organizations, the work that is being done is generally for youth and not with youth. At YES!, high school-aged students are hired as staff members who work in conjunction with adult staff. This helps to create intergenerational power sharing where young people’s ideas are not only heard but routinely implemented.
YES! envisions communities where the valued standard is empowered youth leaders working alongside adults to create positive change. Our philosophy necessitates the reworking of the traditional depiction of an organizational structure. The YES! Organizational Design balances the lower appendages of a standard chart, reflecting adult staff power-sharing efforts with youth staff. This diagram (right) is a demonstration of our appreciation for youth work. It illustrates the fact that youth are an essential part of our system.
- We believe that well-trained, empowered youth benefit from and add value to any organization promoting social change.
- We believe that intergenerational power sharing is essential to creating solutions for the challenges of our world.
- We believe that talent in a variety of forms should be respected and honored.
- We believe that providing a safe place for youth and adults to be themselves is essential.
- We believe that supporting and encouraging youth engagement within our organization is an integral part of what is necessary for communities to be healthy.