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Youth Empowered Solutions (YES!)

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education

Mission: YES! empowers youth, in partnership with adults, to create community change.

Results: YES! hires high school students who learn skills, gain critical awareness and seize opportunities to create change in their communities. In 2013, YES! changed 20 policies, systems or environments, impacting 10,656,929 people. YES! staff work on local policy, system and environmental change, and then train other teams of youth and adults to replicate the work in their own communities. YES! also works with adults and organizations to help support youth-adult partnerships and advocacy efforts.

Programs: Youth empowered solutions (yes) is a nonprofit organization committed to creating a society where empowered high school-aged youth work alongside adults to create just, equitable and thriving communities. To accomplish this, yes equips high school youth and their adult allies with the tools necessary to take a stand in their communities and create change that will positively impact adolescent health. Yes developed and trademarked its nationally recognized youth empowerment model, a three-pronged approach that challenges youth to develop skills, gain critical awareness, and participate in opportunities that create community change. Yes provides professional development training and customized services on the model to organizations, adults, youth leaders, and its own youth staff. Yesenvisions communities where the valued standard is that empowered young leaders create extraordinary impact by working alongside adults. Yes's real food, active living team engages and empowers young people in community change efforts to increase access to healthy food and active living, and decrease the childhood obesity epidemic. Objectives include: - advocate for policy changes to support access to real food and active living - provide training and technical assistance to youth, adults and organizations on how to empower youth in sustainable community change efforts - provide capacity building for adults and organizations wanting to engage youth more effectively - help groups effectively assess their communities and create action plans driven by youth-adult partnerships - convene youth, adults and organizations statewide to foster a movement to reduce childhood obesity - collaborate with state and national initiatives to address childhood obesity the rfal team consists of 1 team lead, 2 program coordinators and 6 youth staff. From 7/1/14 to 6/30/15, the yes real food active living team provided 13 youth and 5 adult leader trainings, and 7 youth and 15 adult presentations/workshops. 8 groups received mini-grant funding and were a part of the rfal network. Of 574 youth and 313 adults exposed to yes, 311 youth and 74 adults were trained. Yes real food active living team partnered with agencies to accomplish the following 13 changes: - robinhood ymca opened a community garden that was used for programming for 7,000 members during the 2014 growing season. - the national association for the education of homeless children and youth in greensboro renovated a blighted area into a community garden. - the madison county health ambassadors initiative has been established with 3 students and 1 adult advisor. The health ambassadors work in partnership with the madison county health consortium and child health committee to make madison county a healthier place to live. - the madison county health ambassadors became a part of the larger madison county health consortium, which in turn changed the location and time of their meetings to be inclusive to the school staff and students. - summit charter school in western north carolina created a school garden used for classes and food was donated to community members in need. - capital area food network committed to adding a youth leader to their leadership team. - sugar free kids maryland/medchi/horizon foundation developed a structure, hr documents to support youth engagement and officially launched a youth leadership team. - durham city representatives have committed to working with durham public schools to see about using the sidewalk fees to use on improving the sidewalks around milton rd. As youth interns recommended. - carolinas healthcare system worked to develop and support a youth advisory council (yac) for the healthy weight, healthy child initiative. The yac recruited 12-15 youth to serve on the advisory council for the coalition. - the asheville city council voted to get rid of the fare free zone in the bus system without following legal protocol (opening the idea for public comment)-yes argued against this and they withdrew the votes. - madison county received agreements from 3 local corner stores to stock healthier options and to follow up with madison county health department. - william g white ymca purchased bee hives for the farm at the children's home to increase garden production, and sell the produce every tuesday and wednesday. - the pew charitable trust engaged youth in their national-level convening and adopted youth empowerment as a strategy for obesity prevention focused on the smart snack standards. Yes real food active living team participated in 8 national events: - genyouth conference in dallas, tx on youth engagement - voices for healthy kids grantee meeting in memphis, tn - southern obesity summit in louisville, ky - partnership for a healthier america conference in washington, dc - trained youth advocates with the american heart association for their national lobby day in washington dc to prepare youth to lobby for the reauthorization for strong school food standards. - attended the weight of the state conference in richmond, va - met with the georgia state health dept. In atlanta, ga - funder's collaborative on youth organizing, denver, co yes real food active living received 12 earned media hits through letters-to-the-editor, local news stations, and newspaper stories. Highlights include: - active living by design: http://activelivingbydesign. Org/youth-speaking- up-and-being-seen/ - lima, oh media: http://www. Limaohio. Com/news/home_top-news- news_education/50773926/teen-wants-healthy-food-at-school - madison county's news record and sentinel about our november food access advocacy training and the work that madison county youth and adults plan to do as a result - asheville groups competing in nc innovation challenge - asheville citizen times, 1/5/15. Http://www. Citizen- times. Com/story/money/business/2015/01/03/asheville-groups-competing-nc- innovation-challenge/21225423/ https://mountainx. Com/news/art-sunday-bus- service-gets-rolling-with-nine-routes/ - durham hub farm - press release about the survey about sidewalks near the community garden and overview of project - robinhood ymca - http://ymcanwnc. Org/2014/08/ymca-youth-and-government- students-fight-hunger-with-grant/; https://www. Facebook. Com/ymcaofnwnc; http://ymcanwnc. Org/2014/08/ymca-youth-and-government-students-fight- hunger-with-grant/; https://www. Facebook. Com/youthempoweredsolutions - robinhood ymca - garden opening/legislative event story was featured in the ymca nwnc connections - newsletter - asheville citizen times: let's get behind the healthy corner store initiative: http://avlne. Ws/1gkagnd - mountainx. Com-letter writer support healthy corner store initiative to address food deserts food insecurity: http://mountainx. Com/opinion/letter- writer-support-healthy-corner-store-initiative-to-address-food-deserts- food-insecurity/ the charlotte post opinion_3. 12. 15. Docx : food insecurity hits young hard - prevent obesity http://preventobesity. Net/inside-track-june-4-d - nc alliance of ymcas: http://www. Ncymcaalliance. Org/youth-teams-lead- opening-of-community-garden-at-robinhood-road-y/ - lima, oh: http://www. Limaohio. Com/news/health-home_top- news/50101992/group-seeks-youth-aides-to-help-kids. Vacpwicwlhi yes real food active living team received 3 awards: - nc spaces for innovation challenge award finalist - president's council on fitness, sports & nutrition: community leadership award 2015 - 40 under 40 award recipient http://www. Youthempoweredsolutions. Org/diana-manee-named-40-under-forty- leader/ yes real food active living team created at least 7 new resources: - video about youth involvement in the food access movement - yes food access mini grant documents - updated the healthy corner stores toolkit - youth advocacy training specific to sugar sweetened beverages, access to water and campaign building - health ambassadors job description and application - healthy school food prezi - created the smart snack healthy concession toolkit for the nc high school athletic association training

in fy15, a total of 1,169 adults and 1,156 youth (2,325 total) were exposed to the yes youth empowerment model through conferences, panels, webinars, and/or trainings. Of the 316 adults and 431 youth that attended a yes training, 99. 5% indicated that they learned new skills and 70% reported going on to take action. Yes partnered to create 37 changes that impacted at least 1,571,697 people. 86% of the youth participants were of color, live in rural communities, or live in low-wealth communities. At yes, youth make up more than 50% of the total number of paid staff: 13 youth staff to 9 adult staff. 100% of youth staff report feeling empowered working at yes. 100% of youth staff demonstrate an increase in skills, critical awareness, and opportunities. 100% of youth staff report working towards policy and systems changes, and 38% towards environmental changes. 77% of the youth staff represented youth of color, rural areas, or low-wealth communities. Yes continues to partner with its graduated youth staff, of whom 100% still feel empowered and 64% continue to develop skills, increase critical awareness, and take action on issues. Yes's tobacco use prevention team is working to engage and empower young people in community change efforts to support tobacco-free lifestyles and environments, create spaces with clean smoke-free air, reduce tobacco- related disparities, and create a tobacco-free generation. Objectives include: - provide training and technical assistance to youth, adults and organizations on how to empower youth in sustainable community change efforts - provide capacity building for adults and organizations wanting to engage youth more effectively - help groups effectively assess their communities and create action plans driven by youth-adult partnerships - collaborate with state and national initiatives to address youth tobacco use and exposure the team consists of 1 team lead and 6 youth staff. Yes administers a national network, through the national african american tobacco prevention network, to impact tobacco-related and cancer health disparities, educate and communicate support for evidence-based commercial tobacco use prevention and cancer prevention environmental approaches, and provide training and technical assistance to network participants. 27 agencies are a part of this network. Contacts from the following states are involved: north carolina, texas, florida, california, mississippi, pennsylvania, rhode island, new mexico, and indiana. From 7/1/14 to 6/30/15, the yes tobacco use prevention team provided 2 youth and 2 adult leader trainings, and 2 youth presentations/workshops. Of 375 youth and 52 adults exposed to the yes youth empowerment model, yes trained 49 youth and 52 adults. Yes tobacco prevention team partnered with agencies to accomplish the following 3 changes: - tobacco-free parks and government grounds policy in mecklenburg county, nc. On oct. 21, 2014, the mecklenburg, n. C. Board of county commissioners voted 8-1 to pass new smoke-free and tobacco-free policies for the county. The new policies ban smoking on government grounds and tobacco use in county-owned parks. - the lowndes school district in georgia adopted a model tobacco-free policy due to the education campaigns by the youth groups from the valdosta health district. - the irwin county school district in georgia adopted a model tobacco-free policy due to the education campaigns by the youth groups from the valdosta health district. Yes tobacco prevention team participated in 5 national events: - the campaign for tobacco-free kids youth symposium - lima, oh youth summit - rapides, la youth summit - georgia youth summit - yes presented at the cdc site visit for the national african american tobacco prevention network yes tobacco prevention team received the following 3 earned media: - ga division of public health website and e-newsletter. Http://dph. Georgia. Gov/blog/2014-11-03/130-georgia-teens-learn-power- policy-development-positive-change - herald sun regulates e-cigarettes http://www. Heraldsun. Com/opinion/letters/x761905286/letters-to-the-editor- jan-22 - former yes youth: "take action to prevent teen tobacco use in nc" - yes blog yes tobacco prevention team created at least 4 new resources: - tobacco point of sale policy manual, which will serve as a guide for local and state level advocates around pos policies. In conjunction with the tobacco pos consortium - merchant education training materials - template for the naatpn national youth network online newsletter - tobacco prevention one pager

yes media plan garnered 1,104 facebook likes; 811 twitter followers; 198 instagram followers; 13,583 youtube views; 2,227 newsletter subscribers; and an average of 2,562 monthly hits on the yes website. Yes received the following honors: - selected to participate in bcbsnc non profit leadership academy and received a 10k grant to support yes business planning process - received seeds of fire grant for a fy15 all staff retreat - awarded mead family foundation grant for operating support in fy15, yes provided training/consulting/summits in 11 states: ga; ky; la; md; nc; ny; oh; tx; wa; wi; washington dc, and yes participated in conferences in 7 states: al; co; in; or; ri; sc; tn yes's access to health team is working to engage and empower young people in community change efforts to increase access to health care and create oral health equity through the following means: - advocate for policy changes to support access to physical and oral health care - research and understand the limitations of access to physical and oral health services across nc - examine the impact of the public's perception of physical and oral health - establish tools to assist communities in supporting their community water being fluoridated - serve as a youth voice on the north carolina oral health collaborative the team consists of 1 team lead and 5 youth staff. Funding to support yes's efforts in oral health began in january of 2015 and time has been spent hiring staff and building capacity through 6/30/2015. From 7/1/14 to 6/30/15, the yes access/oral health team provided 1 youth leader training in which 33 youth were trained; 2 adult presentations/events in which 65 adults were exposed; and 3 youth leader presentations/events in which 52 youth were exposed. In total, the access team exposed 85 youth and 65 adults to yes yes access/oral health team partnered with agencies to accomplish the following 6 outcomes: - the north carolina school-based health alliance established a youth council committee who would oversee the development of the statewide youth council. - montefiore medical center in bronx, ny, contracted with yes for training and consulting. Five principals were approached to establish 5 new school-based youth councils connected to montefiore. All 5 schools got principal write-off approvals. - 50 youth connected to montefiore youth councils held their annual advocacy day and advocated to continue their state level funding (which was approved). - the nc oral health collaborative has invited yes youth to be active stakeholders on the collaborative and in the work groups. - the nc institute of medicine invited yes a youth staff to sit on the patient and family engagement task force, the first youth task force member documented. - the dentaquest foundation and bcbsncf supported a yes youth staff in attending the southern regional health equity convening and co-representing north carolina. Yes access/oral health team participated in 3 national events: - dentaquest south-southeast regional oral health network meeting in austin, tx - baltimore school based health centers contracted with yes to receive a webinar - project vida in el paso, tx contracted with yes for a training yes access to health care team had 4 earned media published, including: - guest editorial on the blog of oral health equity for all (oheall) on the importance of empowering youth in creating sustainable change in health equity http://oheall. Org/main/2014/12/19/creating-health-equity-through-youth- empowerment/) - "sidebar" for the north carolina medical journal for edition on patient and family engagement - twitter storm to support refunding the federal children's health insurance program - "as jobs become scarce, teenagers drive farther to find work" http://parenting. Blogs. Nytimes. Com/2015/03/30/as-jobs-become-scarce- teenagers-drive-farther-to-find-work/? Smid=tw-share&_r=0 yes access to health care team created at least 3 new resources, including: - redesigning the access 101 youth training - source credibility worksheet - dental board investigation worksheet

yes's substance abuse prevention team is working to engage and empower young people in community change efforts to reduce underage drinking: - convene youth, adults and organizations statewide to foster a movement to reduce underage alcohol use - collaborate with state and national initiatives to address underage drinking - advocate for policy changes to support the prevention of underage drinking - provide training and technical assistance to youth, adults and organizations on how to empower youth in sustainable community change efforts - provide capacity building for adults and organizations wanting to engage youth more effectively - help groups effectively assess their communities and create action plans driven by youth-adult partnerships the team consists of 1 team lead and 3 youth staff. Yes substance abuse prevention team is a training and technical assistance provider for the north carolina preventing underage drinking initiative. The team trains youth who are involved with local groups, sharing strategies to change environments in ways that eliminate youth access to alcohol, and trains adults on youth empowerment and topics such as alcopop awareness and advocacy. From 7/1/14 to 6/30/15, the yes substance abuse prevention team provided 4 youth trainings in which 38 youth were trained. Yes substance abuse prevention team partnered with agencies to accomplish 5 ongoing efforts: - the team attended the quarterly nc pudi taskforce and evaluation meetings. - 2 pledge drives for talk it up. Lock it up in which 34 pledges collected to get adults to commit to making their personal home a no underage drinking zone by securing and monitoring their alcohol. - yes youth visited 12 stores regarding alcopops and merchant education. - yes youth secured letters of support for alcopop free stores from high school and city of raleigh's substance abuse advisory commission. - yes thanked the raleigh transit authority for not allowing alcohol and tobacco ads on public transit. Yes substance abuse prevention team participated in 2 national events: - youth on the move conference in new market, tn at the highlander education center - prescription drug abuse at a samhsa conference in washington dc yes substance abuse prevention team 2 earned media included: - the nc pta publicly shared talk it up. Lock it up in their newsletter bulletin. - a blog post detailing experience with the city of raleigh's substance abuse advisory commission regarding the alcopop free stores letter of support. Yes substance abuse prevention team received 1 award: - a scholarship to attend the youth on the move conference yes substance abuse prevention team created at least 8 resources: - updated alcopop free store information, including a skit and prezi - revised merchant education training materials - alcohol mythbusters game - created outlines for 4 webinars: - effective meetings with youth - emerging alcohol products and marketing that targets youth - snazzy technology to work smarter not harder - how the abc system works

Community Stories

2 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

YES youth help us recruit youth for a UNC study on Health Communication. They did an excellent job using social media to drive other youth to the recruitment website. This was a wonderful collaboration.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

YES! trained our youth in public speaking and advocacy and their training has helped us with policy and environmental changes in our community.