The YESS mentoring program currently operates in three Denver Public High Schools: Abraham Lincoln, North, and West High School. The three components of the YESS mentoring model are peer mentoring, school engagement, and the curriculum/emotional intelligence piece.

YESS believes that youth empowering youth is the most effective way to motivate and engage struggling students. Students are tired of hearing the same rhetoric from parents and teachers; positive and successful youth are the best role models and leaders for youth at-risk. We base our agency on the proven results that youth can and will teach other youth how to be successful in life and in school. Once we direct our mentors with guidance and coaching, they are the critical factor in the change that will occur in the mentee. It is truly amazing to watch the relationships that will form over a short time period in the YESS mentoring program. 

It's not the fault of the youth when certain life circumstances leave him/her without hope or motivation.  We care about the students in the Denver area and we want those who need extra support and love to be able to get a chance at succeeding. Why not tap into already motivated and smart youth who want to make a difference in their communities? The YESS Institute facilitates the change in which many high school students will make by spending time with their younger peers. 


Peer Mentoring

The YESS Institute youth development and education philosophy focuses on creating leadership from within.  We seek to provide student leaders the framework and skills to be positive role models to their peers; hence to empower and serve the community from within. We recruit successful 11th and 12th graders to become the mentors in the YESS …

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Shaun, Eric, Amanda, Stasia

School Engagement

  We engage at-risk mentees by providing them with trained peer mentors who come from similar backgrounds and who share the same “cultural zip code.” Our model includes:   Recruiting/matching mentors and mentees: Mentors match similar “cultural zip code” of 9th-grade mentees provides a more inclusive approach of “empowering from within.” Mentor training and supervision: Peer …

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Curriculum: Emotional Intelligence

      The YESS Institute’s programs have a strong focus on social emotional skills.  The EmoSmart Leadership™ curriculum is a YESS Institute curriculum, which has been developed from years of experience working with youth. The curriculum addresses personal and social competencies that are essential to being successful in school and life; such competencies are self-confidence, respect …

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Outcomes and Evidence

  The YESS program is based on a “developing” level of evidence. Cross-age peer mentoring is relatively new, but research suggests it can positively impact a mentee’s feelings of connectedness to school, future, and parents,[i] and improve academic achievement.[ii] Researchers agree that a quality relationship/emotional bond between the mentee/mentor must develop before the mentee will …

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Current Schools

The YESS mentoring program currently operates in three Denver Public High Schools: Abraham Lincoln, North, and West High School.  Each of the targeted schools has the lowest graduation rates of any of the district’s traditional schools and the communities surrounding each school are high-need.

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