As Colorado Gives Day approaches, it’s crucial to reflect on the profound impact of the YESS Institute’s programs. For over 20 years, the YESS Institute has been at the forefront of empowering at-risk youth, ensuring they overcome challenges and realize their potential. This blog post delves into the transformative effects of YESS programs and the significant return on investment (ROI) they offer.

Understanding At-Risk Youth

The term “at-risk youth” encompasses young individuals facing a multitude of challenges, including socioeconomic factors, academic struggles, behavioral issues, family instability, mental health challenges, lack of positive role models, substance abuse, homelessness or housing instability, and involvement in the foster care system. These factors place them at a higher probability of experiencing negative outcomes.

The YESS Approach

The YESS Institute addresses these challenges head-on. Through evidence-based interventions and targeted programs, YESS works to empower these young individuals, equipping them with the tools they need to thrive. Key areas of focus include:

1. Social and Emotional Skills Development: The institute’s programs emphasize building resilience, coping with stress, and making responsible decisions.

2. Academic Achievement: YESS students show marked improvements in academic performance, evident in higher GPAs and increased graduation rates.

3. Reduction in Risky Behaviors: By fostering emotional intelligence, YESS programs help decrease substance abuse and engagement in violence.

4. Building Positive Relationships: The emphasis on relationship-building creates a sense of belonging, reducing isolation and alienation among at-risk youth.

5. Community Engagement: Through partnerships and community involvement, YESS creates a supportive ecosystem for at-risk youth.

Quantifiable Success

The impact of YESS programs is not just qualitative but also quantifiable. Academic improvements among YESS mentees are significant, with students who improved their social-emotional learning (SEL) achieving a GPA increase to 2.47 and a credit gain of 34.2. Furthermore, 85% of YESS mentees are on track compared to just 40% of their grade-level counterparts not served by YESS. These figures underscore the substantial ROI of investing in YESS programs.

Celebrating 20+ Years of Empowerment

Reflecting on the more than 20-year history of the YESS Institute, from its founding in 2001 to the development of an online learning platform in 2021, we see a consistent commitment to youth empowerment. The programs have shown demonstrable improvements in school connectedness, academic achievement, attendance rates, student leadership, social-emotional development, and post-secondary success.

The Impact of Your Donation

As we look towards Colorado Gives Day, it’s essential to recognize the value of your support. Donations to the YESS Institute contribute directly to sustaining and expanding these life-changing programs. Your contribution ensures that more at-risk youth receive the guidance, mentorship, and educational resources they need to succeed.

How to Donate

To make a difference in the lives of young people and support the mission of the YESS Institute, please consider donating via Your generosity plays a vital role in shaping the futures of countless at-risk youth.

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