Although I have only worked at YES! for 5-6 months, the day I have to leave YES! is something I dread. Luckily, the graduated youth staff are beyond prepared to be empowered and contributing adults in our society; ready to make a difference using the skills they learned at YES!.
The results of a YES! 2015 survey showed that 100% of graduated youth staff reported still feeling empowered. Along with that, 64% reported being able to develop skills, increase critical awareness, and take action on issues in this past year. With those kind of results, it’s no wonder nearly half of the graduated youth staff who responded have been able to impact their communities this year!
Graduated youth staff Tiffany Jones has been putting the skills she learned at YES! to serve her community: “My time at YES! gave me a thirst for social justice that I have chased since graduating. I have served each summer after high school in nonprofit settings and I’m an active advocate for justice, service and diversity through the year at my university.”
Working at YES! has also inspired graduated youth staff to remain involved in the field of public health, or have a major that will give them the opportunity to continue creating change. Graduated youth staff member Dynasty Winters was so moved by her involvement within YES! she changed her major from political science to public health. Another graduated youth staff member, Tyshaun Johnson, chose his career off of his work with YES!: “Working for YES! has opened my eyes to the struggles of different groups, this is the main reason I wish to pursue a career in politics and affect community change.”
The experience the graduated youth staff gain working at YES! has set them apart in the adult workplace, and they have been able to apply the skills they have learned: “YES! impacted me in so many ways. They increased my skills in communication, organization and commitment to creating changes in multiple areas that will benefit everyone,” graduated youth staff Cyesha Baird said.
“I feel like my training at YES! puts me at a significant advantage over my peers even now because of my ability to empower myself and my extensive work experience before college,” graduated youth staff Jhana Parikh said.
Even when you’re away from YES! you’re still considered a valuable member of the organization: “All of the YES! staff have been supportive and available beyond my graduate years,” graduated youth staff Shaquita Williams said.
Overall, the graduated youth staff are beyond successful and making huge strides in their community. YES! is very proud of them all.
About the author:
Xenna Smith joined YES! in May 2015 and works out of the YES! Asheville office. Her interests include video producing, slam poetry, theater, and music.