YESS History

 1992 – 1995

  • In 1992-93, Carlo Kriekels and his friend Ronald rode 35,000 miles from California to Chile on a motorbike.  The 18-month long trip started out as a great adventure to discover the authentic Latin America, away from the “gringo trails,” but ended with a shift in life priorities.  The motorbike trip gave him a compass for social justice: to improve the lives of children.
  • YESS co-founders, Susan Greer and Carlo, met in 1995 in England.  Carlo was trained by Susan and her international training company in Emotional Intelligence leadership skills.

1997 – 2001

  • Susan and Carlo co-facilitated leadership workshops and intensive personal development programs for primarily international business leaders in Brussels, Netherlands, UK and the United States.
  • In 2001, Carlo and Susan made the leap to co-found the YESS Institute as both felt deeply about providing these valuable emotional intelligence concepts to at-risk youth and role models.
  • Initially, YESS focused on training mentors and mentoring agencies in its Emotional Intelligence concepts

2003 – 2007

  • In 2003, based upon the ideas and leadership by Mountain Vista high school juniors Jacob Malson and Annalise Smith, YESS piloted its first peer mentoring program at Denver’s Morey Middle School
  • Susan Greer left the YESS Institute in 2005. She moved with her family to New Mexico. Susan left a legacy as she was instrumental in laying a strong foundation as a co-founder and visionary.
  • In the 2006 – 07 school year, YESS piloted its high school peer mentoring program – YEditESS Mentoring –  between juniors/seniors and freshmen at Abraham Lincoln High School at Denver Public Schools.

2009 – 2013

  • In 2009 Denver Public Schools contracted with the YESS Institute to expand the Lincoln model to North and West High Schools.
  • Co-founder Kriekels received the 2011 Heavy Lifting Award by the Denver Mayor’s Office for Education and Children in recognition of his efforts to improve the lives of children and youth in Denver.
  • In 2011 Richard Male and Associates and the YESS Leadership developed a three-year strategic business plan. The plan provides a road map to fulfilling the YESS vision of developing a best practice that can be implemented nationwide through product development.
  • With mentoring leaders around the state, YESS was one of the co-founding agencies of Mentor Colorado. This leadership team laid the foundation for a statewide mentoring partnership,   an annual statewide mentoring Summit and hired its first executive director Brad Strong.

2014 – Present 

  • Due to gentrification in Denver City and County, many low income families are moving to Adams County, north of Denver. To serve the community where needed, YESS expands its services to the Westminster School District in Adams County. YESS becomes an integrated, credited, daily class for 300 students at Shaw Heights, Ranum and Scott Carpenter Middle Schools.
  • YESS Mentoring expands its curriculum to a middle school model with all YESS lesson plans linked to the learning targets of the school district and the State of Colorado.
  • 2015: YESS develops curriculum for the Denver Office of the Independent Monitor’s initiative Bridging the Gap – Cops and Kids Forums.
  • 2015: Rocky Mountain PBS invites YESS as a community partner in its documentary series: Standing in the Gap: Race & Denver Schools” 
  • 2016: YESS receives the MBK25 – My Brother’s Keeper – Award from Denver Mayor Michael Hancock for its work with boys and young men of color.