Meet YES!

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Meet YES!
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Youth Empowered Solutions (YES!) creates widespread community change and mobilizes youth from many backgrounds for a truly grassroots movement. Our savvy youth staff impact problems that affect them and train other youth to be able to do the same in their communities. The YES! youth and adult staff create opportunities for youth to be more active in their community by teaching them about the YES! Youth Empowerment Model. By helping organizations (non-profits, businesses and other groups), fully incorporate youth into the way they do business, they have an increased capacity to work with youth on just about anything the organization chooses. The organizations we work with to implement the YES! Youth Empowerment Model make room for youth to be staff, meaningful volunteers, board members, and/or coalition representatives. This can literally mean immediate employment in some cases. In all cases, it means the kind of experience, networking and training that leads to post-secondary success for youth. The YES! Youth Empowerment Model makes that youth involvement authentic and sustainable. Many youth have been limited in society to be reactive instead of proactive (think: school assignments) but at YES! youth identify problems and solutions within a setting that shares power between youth and adults. Even this video was created by youth who wanted a simple way for us to communicate how we do our work. People always say youth are our future but they are here now-they are our present. Over 100 youth over the history of YES! And they make up 50% of our current staff. YES! plays a role in changing the social norm about what youth can do by hiring youth. YES! Models what it believes more organizations should do by giving youth the skills, critical awareness and opportunities they deserve to become active and integral members of their communities.
I'm a 29 yr old underdog-the type of person who is moderately good at lots of things but never excel at any so I took advantage of every opportunity in school but it was just that-In school. I never understood why I didn’t have opportunities to affect my world at a larger level making me I realize we need to start changing social norms from the bottom up to be a society where people can be valued at every age. Enter-Youth Empowered Solutions (YES!). I started working w/ YES! as a community partner and immediately saw the power and value of their work–empowering youth to create community change. Two years later I was lucky enough to be hired by YES! Many adults have a negative view of our youth saying they're lazy or ambivalent but to me it’s a missed opportunity. Youth of today want to create change and have a voice but don’t want to do it on someone else's terms. In order for us to create that society where all are valued, we have to give youth skills to think independently now. These aren't skills easy to pick up when you’re in your 20's if you have never been exposed to them previously. To critically assess issues that affect them and their communities, youth need to be employed in the workforce now, in positions of power sharing and partnership w/ adults. Yes, as adults we may have a better understanding of red tape and societal constraints but we can’t “change the fate of our youth” unless they are there w/ us providing direction and strength with their valuable skills. That’s why YES! is so powerful. We create jobs for youth today to become experts working w/n those partnerships and create a domino effect. Youth on staff w/ YES! (and youth trained by YES!) grow up w/ a different perspective and if adults see youth participating in positions of power then they too will start creating more opportunities for this to happen. People will start seeing youth empowerment is effective and sustainable and we will create a society that youth are valued as much as adults