Why I am a YESS Champion

I’ve been a YESS donor and supporter since shortly after it was founded in 1978. Although I never faced the challenges and crisis the youth who turn to YESS face. I had a really difficult time as a teenager and young adult. I was fortunate that there were people who reached out to me to help. It is something I’ve never forgotten and I’ll never stop being grateful.

I personally know a couple of very successful people, who today are making significant contributions to Edmonton, whose life could have gone a different, very bad direction, except for YESS being there when they were in crisis. Having a place to go when you are alone, frightened, broke and feeling unwanted and unloved can be a life saving intervention. Seriously. YESS is that place and so much more.

I have known Deb Cautley, Executive Director, at Youth Empowerment and Support Services (YESS); formerly Youth Emergency Shelter Society (YESS), for over 40 years. She struggled in her twenties too. She understands the challenges that face these youth. She understand their feelings. She and her team deal with these teens and young adults with compassion but also with a firm believe that they can rise above the crisis of this moment and have happy and productive lives. Today, they provide a host of support services that go far beyond the moment of crisis.

I am a YESS Champion with enthusiasm. A YESS Champion is an advocate for YESS in the community. They raise awareness, encourage engagement and share information. If you can donate, please do. If not, please volunteer, if you are unable, please share the message of YESS.

If you are willing please become a YESS Champion today, register at: champion.yess.org When you register please connect to me, my YESS Champion code is BE18.

Here are some of the services provided by Youth Empowerment and Support Services:

Nexus: 

Nexus is a rapid referral centre. It provides necessities and beds for youth, with a focus on rapid rehousing and needs assessment for youth who are newly homeless (the first 7-10 days). The aim is to help kids who are new to the streets get back into a stable home as quickly as possible.

Rationale: 

Youth become entrenched in street life after only 7-10 days. While a first come, first served model helps to ensure youth on the street always have a place to turn, it is not as effective in helping youth avoid prolonged time on the street. By shifting the model to a rapid referral centre, YESS will be able to help kids back into a supportive home before they accept and become entrenched in a life on the street. 

Graham’s Place: 

This program focuses on preparing youth for adulthood through a supportive and homelike atmosphere for the youth; more nurturing than regimented. Relationships and natural teaching moments are the key to success in developing capacity in our youth.

Rationale: 

While teaching skills is an important aspect of youths’ experience at Graham’s Place, the program also works to provide a sense of belonging that our kids have rarely experienced. The structure of Graham’s Place offers a similar experience to life at home, while services are wrapped around youth. 

Shanoa’s Place: 

Shanoa’s Place helps to prepare youth for adulthood, with heavy emphasis on addictions, mental health issues, and mitigating the effects of trauma. Instead of a structured housing model, Shanoa’s place will staffed by houseparents, working to create a supportive and homelike atmosphere for the youth with services provided by YESS and other providers.

Rationale: While teaching skills will still be an important aspect of the youth’s experience at Shanoa’s Place, the name and programs are changing in order to provide those who use the program with more of a sense of belonging. The structure of Shanoa’s Place will now intend to offer a similar experience to life at home. 

ARC: 

ARC is a resource centre for youth offering scheduled appointments with youth-serving professionals and structured activities. Youth can spend up to two hours resting and accessing the necessities of life, or spend the full day in productive activities.

Rationale: YESS’s services require a hub for the resources they offer and a place of refuge for youth facing difficult realities. 

In addition to our residential programs and the Armoury Resource Centre, YESS has undertaken research and training to enable our staff to meet the needs of clients across all YESS programs in some new and effective ways:

Mosaic

Mosaic is a wraparound service model, consisting of staff working closely with the youth in a one-on-one setting, helping them set, achieve, and celebrate their short term goals. The Mosaic team will work with youth to determine the services they need, identify their natural supports, and coordinate the roles of various individuals and agencies in progressing toward their goals.

Rationale: YESS’s restructuring of programs allows additional staffing resources to be placed at the front lines. The Mosaic Team will work with each of YESS’s kids to identify the resources they need. 

Compass

Compass is designed to help youth who have suffered trauma to build emotional skills such as the ability to self-regulate emotional responses to anxiety or stress, and the ability to cope with attachment and relationships with peers. The intent is to assist the youth in building trust based relationships.

Rationale: As the needs of Edmonton youth have shifted, YESS has identified a need for programming that helps build emotional skills. Often, for youth who have grown up in difficult realities, many of the emotional coping methods that many of us use in our daily interactions with other people have not been developed. Compass, therefore, focuses on Trust Based Relational Intervention, to help youth learn these important emotional skills. 


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