Click the image below to flip through the pages of our 2015 Annual Report.
To read YES! Annual Reports from previous years, click here.
We had an incredible year in fiscal year 2012 and we want to celebrate it with you! This report highlights YES!’s work to create community change and our impact at the local, statewide and national level. We also highlight the partners who have supported our work and those who helped us implement system, policy and environmental changes that further our mission.
Letter from the Executive Director, Bronwyn Lucas
(featured in 2012 Annual Report)
At YES!, we know that healthy, vibrant communities are created when young people are given the skills and opportunities to take action on the issues that directly impact them. Our work has proven that youth have the capacity to become leaders and champion the issues that are important to them. The core of our work has always focused on engaging youth, in partnership with adults, to create community change.
YES! has had great success in supporting youth-adult partnerships that impact community, policy and systemic changes in the past four years. Our youth have led more than 38 systems and policy changes, impacting at least 10,218,626 people throughout North Carolina and Georgia.
Because of our work, we were honored with several awards, including:
– 2012 Advocacy Prevention Excellence Award and a Trailblazer Award for promoting workplace wellness from NC Prevention Partners
-2012 SparkOpportunity Challenge Adult Ally Award from SparkAction
-2012 Sydney S. Chipman Award in the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
-2012 Nonprofit Stewardship Award from the N.C. Center for Nonprofits
All of this success wouldn’t be possible without a dedicated and passionate staff and board of directors who provide the spark that keeps YES! on the forefront of innovation. I would like to also acknowledge all of our funders and individual donors who are united by a shared belief that people and organizations, if given the right tools and opportunities, can join to improve their communities.
No matter the issue, YES! envisions communities where the valued standard is empowered young leaders working alongside adults to create positive change. In the coming years, we plan to continue to expand our youth empowerment work outside of North Carolina and beyond the areas of adolescent health, and to develop a presence in other fields where empowered youth can have an extraordinary impact, including the education system, workforce development, civic engagement and the environment.
POSITION SUMMARY: For this multisite and multi-initiative organization, the Finance Manager is responsible for the proper management of the organization’s financial and administrative systems. This position will support a variety of organizational functions including organizational planning, human resources, IT, and general office management.
The YES! team is collaborative, committed to our mission, and relationship driven in our efforts to impact equity and social justice through youth empowerment.
TITLE: Finance Manager
CLASSIFICATION: Full-Time Non-Exempt
LOCATION: Raleigh, NC
TRAITS AND CHARACTERISTICS:
To be successful at YES! you must thrive in an entrepreneurial environment, be quick thinking and responsive to a growing team and innovative environment. YES! needs a committed employee who can help build and strengthen internal capacity as the organization grows in budget, staff size and impact. The ideal candidate will be process oriented, ability to focus on details, commitment to accuracy and solution oriented.
REQUIREMENTS & QUALIFICATIONS:
SALARY & BENEFITS
Salary Range: $58,000 – $63,000. YES! provides competitive salary with generous benefits including substantial paid time off, flexible holiday schedule, full medical, dental and vision coverage, retirement, disability and additional employer paid benefits.
HOW TO APPLY: Send resume and cover letter to: firstname.lastname@example.org by June 8, 2018. Please do not call with inquiries.
Youth Empowered Solutions is committed to building a workplace that is affirming, inclusive, and respectful of all people and the ways in which they identify across race, class, ability, gender, sexual orientation, age, and many other characteristics. Individuals from historically marginalized communities are encouraged to apply.
Click the image below to flip through the pages of our 2014 Annual Report. Stay tuned for the YES! 2015 Annual Report!
[Download the 2014 Annual Report Here]
Raleigh, N.C. – No one dreams larger than the young. Why not channel youth dreams to make our communities more vibrant and healthy? This idea comes to life through the work of Youth Empowered Solutions (YES!), which trains young people to become active citizens in partnership with adults in their community.
On Sept. 13, 2012, YES! received the Nonprofit Sector Stewardship Award, the state’s highest honor for nonprofit organizations. The N.C. Center for Nonprofits awarded this distinction to three nonprofits that use exemplary practices in their ethics, accountability, and stewardship of the community’s trust and resources.
“We are proud to honor YES! for evaluating the difference that its work makes in people’s lives,” said Jane Kendall, president of the N.C. Center for Nonprofits. “We also praise the organization’s effective use of advocacy as an important tool in achieving its mission.”
YES! recently created a report that tracks its outcomes in a simple, graphic format. “This kind of accountability is exactly what we expect for nonprofits that practice good stewardship,” said Kendall. “It shows that even a small organization can tell the story of the difference it makes in people’s lives.”
YES! also leads by example by being sure that young people are in the majority in running its organization. It has 38 employees, including 13 adult staff and 25 paid youth staff. The organization envisions a community where it is normal for organizations to engage young people like this.
“In many organizations, work is done for youth and not with youth,” said Meka Sales, who is chair of the YES! board of directors and a program officer at The Duke Endowment in Charlotte. “At YES!, high school students are hired to work in conjunction with adult staff. This helps the generations share power, which is essential for creating solutions for the challenges facing our world today.”
“Our aim is to reflect in our organization’s own practices the work we are doing in the field,” said Bronwyn Lucas, YES! executive director. “The impact of that structure is most evident when our youth go out into the community as adults, ready to change the world.”
Jhana Parikh, a high school junior in Raleigh, said, ”I’ve always known that youth have great ideas for positive change. The hard part is actually bringing about that change. YES! has bridged the gap between my generation and older ones, so that the change we envision can be possible.”
“The strength of leadership at YES! is incredible,” comments Jennifer McDougall, senior program officer of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation. “We are continuously impressed with the framework this group uses to improve the lives of future generations.”
The organization’s approach to improving adolescent health is two-fold – prevention and advocacy. It works to increase youth access to health care and to prevent childhood obesity, teen tobacco use, and alcohol and substance abuse. It advocates at the local, state, and national levels to help ensure that our society produces healthy people.
YES! focuses on the roots of social problems rather than on their symptoms. For example, young staff members look at what is behind the health problems that plague youth. Adult mentors then guide them to identify specific actions that can help prevent these problems. Young people also determine how they will measure whether their approach actually improved youth health.
“We feel that our youth have a voice and they should use it,” explained Sales. “In all our work, we aim to walk the talk by investing time, energy, and resources in training our youth.”
Young people trained by YES! across the state helped to pass local policies for tobacco-free schools. Working with other organizations, they then helped secure passage of a statewide ban on tobacco in schools.
“These policies will yield a generation that is free of second-hand smoke,” said Sales. “This work on creating sustainable solutions delivers a measurable impact on improving health issues that are costly to the state.” The cost of chronic diseases and preventable conditions from tobacco, substance abuse, and unhealthy eating in North Carolina was $54 billion in 2010.
To encourage leadership even further, young staff at YES! also trained other youth to advocate for local policies supporting smoke-free bars and restaurants. This effort eventually contributed to legislation that enacted a statewide ban on smoking in these settings.
With offices in Charlotte, Asheville, and Raleigh, YES! now trains an average of 2,000 youth and adults each year. It focuses on young people ages 13 to 21.
“We also noted that YES! has an annual independent audit,” said CPA Walter Davenport, who serves on the N.C. Center’s statewide Board of Directors and chairs United Way of the Greater Triangle.
“Good financial management is important for all nonprofits, which must continue to earn the public’s trust every day,” said Davenport. “The N.C. Center lifts up these good practices and trains nonprofits to do the right things the right way.”
“Evaluating results is something that strong organizations do. The Center publishes a checklist of specific benchmarks to help nonprofits be effective and accountable,” says Center Board member Joni Davis of Charlotte. Principles and Practices for Nonprofit Excellence outlines good practices in nonprofit management, governance, and leadership (www.ncnonprofits.org/resources/principles).
Davis and Kendall presented the Nonprofit Stewardship Award. Accepting it for YES! were Sales and Lucas, as well as Founding Board member and Vice Chair David Jolly, Development Director Emily Clabaugh, and Youth Staff Jhana Parikh.
The other 2012 Nonprofit Stewardship Award winners are Wilmington’s Cape Fear Literacy Council and Charlotte’s Apparo, which helps nonprofits with technology. The winners receive recognition from nonprofit leaders across the state and from elected officials at the local, state, and national levels.
Prudential Financial, Inc. sponsors the awards. This allows the Center to present each winner with $500 to invest in professional development for its board and staff, and a commemorative work by Durham artist Galia Goodman.
The N.C. Center for Nonprofits helps nonprofits to lead and manage their organizations effectively, reduce costs so every dollar goes further, and work together to solve social problems. Its mission is to enrich North Carolina’s communities and economy through a strong nonprofit sector and nonprofit voice. With 1,650 member organizations across the state, the Center serves nonprofits working in all 100 counties of North Carolina. For more information, go to www.ncnonprofits.org.
For more information:
Trisha Lester, Vice President, N.C. Center for Nonprofits, 919-790-1555 x104 (office), 919-971-5423 (cell)
Bronwyn Lucas, Co-Founder & Executive Director, YES!, 919-229-8017, email@example.com
By Katie Warner,
YES! Adult Staff
It has been a year of change at Youth Empowered Solutions (YES!) – new adventures, new hires and a fresh look at the work we do to engage and empower youth to create community change. One of the most exciting parts about this year for YES! is the reinvestment of youth tobacco prevention dollars in North Carolina. YES!’s foundation was built in the youth tobacco prevention movement in North Carolina with successes that included 100% Tobacco-Free Schools, Smoke-Free bars and restaurants and in 2011, and a record low rate of 17.7% of high school students reported using a cigarette in the past 30 days. As an organization that has worked on this issue for over a decade, we know there is still so much work to be done. The tobacco industry is driving the emergence of electronic cigarettes and continues to develop and market new tobacco products to young people.
At YES! we know that communities of color are impacted at a much higher rate than white communities when it comes to predatory marketing and advertising tactics of the tobacco industry. We also know that the lack of comprehensive policies and implementation create even wider disparities between communities. One of the most notable elements is that population-based public health models exclude the most vulnerable populations that they are designed to benefit, in this case youth.
Annually, North Carolina receives approximately $140 million in Master Settlement Agreement payments, yet, for the past 5 years, none of this funding has gone towards preventing youth from smoking daily and in turn we are facing a staggering increase in e-cigarette and emerging product usage.
In 2015, self-reported daily smoking was up to 23.8% among high school students and we have seen an 888% increase in the usage of e-cigarettes among youth between 2011-2015. According to the latest Surgeon General’s Report, more than 85% of e-cigarette users ages 12-17 use flavored e-cigarettes, and flavors are the leading reason for youth use. More than 9 of 10 young adult e-cigarette users said they use e-cigarettes flavored to taste like menthol, alcohol, fruit, chocolate, or other sweets.
Through extensive advocacy across North Carolina, YES! is excited to share that the NC General Assembly (NCGA) decided to reinvest in youth tobacco prevention funding during the 2017 legislative session. While the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the minimum annual investment of 17.3 million for youth tobacco prevention efforts, the NCGA allocated $500,000/ year for two years to rebuild the work in NC to address this issue.
“The North Carolina Alliance for Health (NCAH) applauds the General Assembly for once again funding teen tobacco use prevention programming in the state. While the current appropriation will not fully restore North Carolina’s award winning-programs, it is promising to see the legislature once again prioritize teen health.” – Morgan Wittman Gramann, NCAH Executive Director
YES! worked alongside NAATPN, the NC Alliance for Health, the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society/Cancer Action Network and many other key partners to lead statewide advocacy to reinstate youth tobacco prevention funding. We launched our campaign with an Advocacy Day in partnership with the NC Alliance for Health including a press conference introducing legislation to fund an investment in youth tobacco prevention. “Tobacco use is a pay now or pay later situation,” said Rep. Donny Lambeth, R-Forsyth, noting that it is responsible for $3.81 billion in health costs and $4.24 billion in lost productivity each year.
Check out the Video from the Press Conference: http://www.wral.com/lawmakers-want-to-reignite-tobacco-prevention-programs/16573328/
As a college student, e-cigarettes and other alternative nicotine sources have become a consistent image that I see on campus regularly. My generation was the first generation to grow up with fact and research based negative perception of tobacco use. We were taught that smoking causes cancer and lung disease, we were also taught that secondhand smoke has the same negative effects. The negative perception was instilled in us to the point that even smelling cigarettes puts us at discomfort. Many tobacco companies became cognizant of this and created modernized products that mask the smell of tobacco to appeal to the millennials and Generation Z youth. Many youth are under the impression that hookah, e-cigarettes and other modern forms of tobacco do not contain tobacco. This misconception can change with proper education of the harms of these products in school and through nonprofit organizations. This will result in the needed decrease in young tobacco users in today’s day and age.
My experience during the press conference at Advocacy Day was pleasant, I was very excited to see lawmakers supporting the funding of tobacco prevention. However, when speaking to some lawmakers it seemed that they weren’t seeing value in spending money on tobacco prevention. Partially because many are under the impression that tobacco prevention efforts are not needed anymore, and we know this is not the case. Lawmakers and citizens of North Carolina should band together to support the funding of youth tobacco prevention.
–Andrea Boakye, Graduated YES! Youth Staff
YES! is thrilled to be working in partnership with the NC Division of Public Health’s Tobacco and Prevention and Control Branch, UNC’s Tobacco Prevention and Evaluation Program (TPEP), the National Institutes of Health Tobacco Centers’ of Regulatory Science (TCORS), NC Alliance for Health and Youth across the state of NC, to rebuild elements of NC’s award-winning youth tobacco prevention program. YES! aims to engage youth and adults across the state of North Carolina to lead local policy, system and environmental changes to educate youth and once again decrease the youth tobacco rates and to create healthier communities.
“We are thrilled to be working again with YES!, which empowers youth, in partnership with adults, to create community change,” said Sally Herndon, head of the Tobacco Prevention and Control Branch in the North Carolina Division of Public Health. “Tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of death in North Carolina and the nation. With the voices of young people and their leaders, we can accelerate our progress advancing tobacco-free living and tobacco-free communities.”
YES! knows that when you engage youth as leaders in issues that impact them directly we have the ability to create just, thriving and equitable communities.
The latest report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that North Carolina youth are much less likely to begin drinking and abuse alcohol than they were 10 years ago. The CDC’s 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that the percentage of youth in the state who had their first drink of alcohol before age 13 dropped by more than half, from 30.4 percent in 1993 to 14.3 percent in 2013 – about 4 percent lower than the national average.
Studies have shown that youth who start drinking before the age of 15 are five times more likely to develop alcohol dependence or abuse than those who begin drinking at age 21 years or later. In 1993, the CDC found that 23 percent of North Carolina youth surveyed had abused alcohol by having five or more drinks of alcohol in row within a couple hours. The 2013 report found that number had dropped by more than 8 percent, with 14.6 percent of students reporting they had engaged in binge drinking.
The CDC survey also highlights a big drop in the number of youth who drink. The percentage of students who had at least one drink of alcohol in the 30 days before the survey dropped by more than 10 percent between 1993 and 2013 – from 43.7 percent to 32.2 percent.
“It’s great to see the progress that has been made here in North Carolina,” said YES! Team Lead Aidil Ortiz Hill. Aidil leads YES!’s substance abuse prevention work, which is funded by the North Carolina Preventing Underage Drinking Initiative (NC-PUDI), a taskforce made up of youth and adults working on collaboratives across the state to prevent underage drinking at the community level. YES! youth and adult staff provide training to help NC-PUDI collaboratives advance their local efforts.
“This is definitely something the NC-PUDI taskforce is celebrating,” said Aidil, “but there is still work to be done.”
Despite the progress that has been made, alcohol remains the most commonly used and abused drug among youth in the United States, and is responsible for more than 4,300 annual deaths among underage youth.
“To make sure that these numbers keep going down, engaging youth is going to be key,” said Aidil. “Youth and adults need to be working together on this issue. That’s how we can be sure that the solutions will be ones that last.”
– 40 Under Forty Leader Award
YES! Program Coordinator Diana Manee was named one of the 40 up-and-coming leaders of the Greater Asheville, N.C. area. The 40 Under Forty honorees were selected for demonstrating excellence in their careers and dedication to their communities.
– Aspen Ideas Festival
YES! Executive Director Bronwyn Lucas was selected for a full scholarship to attend the 2014 Aspen Ideas Festival. The festival is the nation’s premier, public gathering place for leaders from around the globe and across many disciplines to engage in deep and inquisitive discussion of the ideas and issues that both shape our lives and challenge our times.
– YES! recognized as an innovative nonprofit by the Triangle Community Foundation
YES! Executive Director Bronwyn Lucas joined Tucker Bartlett of Self-Help Ventures Fund and Dr. Pamela Gibson Senegal from Central Carolina Community College on a panel about nonprofit innovation at the Triangle Community Foundation’s What Matters Community Luncheon.
– SparkAction Top 24 Under 24 Drug Mythbusters
YES! youth staff Amber Smith was chosen as one of SparkAction’s Top 24 Under 24 Drug Mythbusters for her work to prevent underage drinking.
– Recognition for nonprofit excellence in Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation’s 2012/2013 Annual Report
– Social Venture Partners SEED20 Class of 2013
Each year Social Venture Partners selects the 20 most innovative and impactful ideas for tackling pressing social challenges in the Charlotte region to participate in SEED20.
– Citizen Award from INDY Week
The Citizen Awards honor groups and individuals who have tirelessly fought for social justice and worked to improve their communities.
– Nonprofit Stewardship Award from the N.C. Center for Nonprofits
The Nonprofit Sector Stewardship Awards pay tribute to organizations whose practices create the excellence that is a hallmark of North Carolina’s nonprofit sector.
– Sydney S. Chipman Award in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, presented to YES! Executive Director Bronwyn Lucas
This award is presented annually to a graduate of the Department of Maternal and Child Health who has made an outstanding contribution to the field of maternal and child health.
– Advocacy Prevention Excellence Award and Trailblazer Award for promoting workplace wellness from NC Prevention Partners
YES! received an Advocacy Prevention Excellence Award for youth-led prevention efforts through advocacy in North Carolina and a Trailblazer Award for an organizational commitment to promoting workplace wellness.
– SparkOpportunity Challenge Adult Ally Award from SparkAction
The Challenge was developed in support of the White House Council for Community Solutions’ call for the nation to do more to reconnect young people with the education, training and comprehensive social supports that are critical for long-term employment and lifelong economic independence.
Since 2008, YES! has trained more than 18,000 youth and adults on the YES! Youth Empowerment Model— helping them work together to create youth-driven action plans to address adolescent health issues, put those plans into action through advocacy, and change their communities for the better.
YES! youth staff are the driving force behind the work that we do as an organization to positively impact adolescent health. In YES!’s fiscal year 2016, YES! youth and adult staff helped to change 25 systems, policies and environments, across 18 states, through 20 partners and projects, impacting 1,256,129 people.
Below are some local community change efforts that YES! youth have been a part of over the years.
– In 2008, after youth went district by district gathering community support and presenting to school boards to adopt tobacco-free campuses, they approached the state legislature to pass a statewide law, ensuring that youth across the state would have access to a healthy, tobacco-free learning environment in all 115 North Carolina school districts.
– Since 2009, YES! has been funded to provide training to the North Carolina Preventing Underage Drinking Initiative, a taskforce of youth and adults working on collaboratives across the state to prevent underage drinking. The CDC’s 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that between 2009 and 2013 there was a 3 percent drop in the number of North Carolina youth who were drinking alcohol. Based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, this 3 percent drop equates to 19,788 fewer youth drinking alcohol.
– YES! youth were at the forefront of the movement to build support for smoke-free restaurants across the state. A North Carolina state law followed in 2010.
– In 2010, youth successfully advocated to prevent Budweiser from gaining the naming rights to the Raleigh, N.C. downtown amphitheater helping to avoid exposure to alcohol advertising for hundreds of thousands of youth and adults over the life of the sponsorship.
– In 2013, YES! youth spearheaded a lunchroom redesign at Myers Park High School in Charlotte N.C. to make the healthy option the easy option for students. YES! staff also created the YES! School Lunchroom Redesign Toolkit as a guide for youth interested in replicating the work to redesign the lunchrooms at their own schools.
– In 2014, YES! youth advocated for the inclusion of youth voice in the statewide North Carolina Institute of Medicine (NCIOM) Task Force on Patient and Family Engagement. As a result, the NCIOM created two spots for youth on the 52-member task force and a YES! youth staff member was selected as the first youth member.
– YES! partnered with the People’s Voice on Transportation Equality campaign to advocate for changes to the Asheville, N.C. public transit system to benefit the people who use the system the most. In 2014, the transit committee agreed to create a committee position for a non-elective rider (a person who uses public transit out of necessity). In addition, the Asheville City Council voted to include funding to extend Sunday bus service in 2015 and improve one of the bus routes.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. –More than 350 youth and adults from North Carolina and 15 other Southern states came together Oct. 14-16, 2012 to develop strategies to address the obesity epidemic during the 6th Annual Obesity Summit.
Texas Health Institute (THI) and Youth Empowered Solutions (YES!) hosted the summit, which brought together key players in local obesity prevention efforts including Mayor Anthony Foxx of Charlotte, N.C., Mayor Terry Bellamy of Asheville, N.C., Mayor Chip Johnson of Hernando, Miss. and Mayor Karl Dean of Nashville, Tenn.
“I’m delighted to welcome the Texas Health Institute, Youth Empowered Solutions, and my fellow mayors to Charlotte for the Southern Obesity Summit,” said Mayor Foxx. “Helping Charlotte’s residents live healthy, active lifestyles is a priority for me and I look forward to working together with leaders in the field to further that goal in the Queen City and across the South.”
The three-day conference offered networking opportunities, fast-paced breakout sessions, workgroup meetings, and plenary sessions that will focus on cross-state collaboration, best practices; and for the first time in its six-year history, the summit devoted an entire day to youth leadership in creating healthier communities and strategies that address the childhood obesity epidemic.
Obesity rates among American children and adolescents have more than tripled in the past 30 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In North Carolina more than a third of children are overweight or obese.
“Given the rapidly rising rates of obesity among our children, I’m especially glad that the summit has made youth participation a focus,” said Foxx.
Youth who attended the summit worked to develop an obesity prevention strategy for their peers in the southern states for 2013 during sessions created and led by YES! youth staff.
“I am excited to have the Southern Obesity Summit as a way to share what’s worked for our youth team,” said Carmen Procida, a 15-year-old YES! youth staff member from Asheville, N.C. “This year alone, we have successfully changed three policies related to healthy food and youth engagement in our schools. Now that we know what works, we can share it with youth from other states and help them create healthier policies in their communities,” she said.
To help encourage youth participation at the summit, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, Save-A-Lot and Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), provided scholarships for youth attendees.
“Engaging young people in this work is vital for success,” said Katie Spears, who leads the YES! Real Food, Active Living Initiative. “By investing in youth, we activate young leaders with the skills and critical awareness to create community change.”
Four southern states – Mississippi, Louisiana, West Virginia and Alabama – have the highest obesity rates in the country according to the latest data from the CDC, with 34.9 percent of Mississippi residents considered obese. Nine other southern states rank in the top 20 obese states. In North Carolina 29.1 percent of adults are considered obese, making the state the 17th most obese in the country. If current rates continue, 13 states, 10 of which are in the south, could have obesity rates higher than 60 percent by 2030, according to the “F as in Fat” report recently released by the Trust for America’s Health and the RWJF.
“We are making progress individually as states in our fight against obesity, but we can do even more if we work together,” said Camille D. Miller, president and CEO of THI. “We have to make health a priority, for our children; for all of us. This conference is not about focusing on the problem or casting blame; it is about identifying ways to create a healthy environment and working to make the healthy choice the easy choice. What we do here can make a difference everywhere.”
To learn more about YES!’s Real Food, Active Living work, contact Katie Spears at firstname.lastname@example.org.