Youth Empowerment Solutions is an evidence-based program that empowers youth to make positive changes in their communities and to work with adults to support their efforts. The goals of the YES program are to provide youth with opportunities for meaningful involvement in preventing youth violence and creating community change, to enhance the ability of adults to support youth in an empowerment framework, and to change the social and physical environment to reduce and prevent violence (especially youth violence).
YES includes three essential elements:
- youth empowerment activities
- training for adult staff and volunteers
- community development projects that youth design and implement with support from adults
Youth empowerment activities include workshops for program planning, budgeting, implementation, and evaluation; opportunities to engage peers in community change efforts; developing ethnic identity and pride; and working with adults to achieve these goals.
YES helps youth develop the skills they need to assess their community, and it gives them decision-making power in developing and implementing community change projects. Participating in empowering activities can help youth avoid risky behaviors and develop into productive healthy adults.
YES uses an empowering, ecologically-focused, community-based strategy to promote positive youth development and reduce risk behavior. The YES program focuses on developing leadership skills, community pride, program planning, and resource mobilization. YES participants assess the assets and liabilities where they live or go to school. Based on their assessments, youth plan and implement projects to improve their communities. The YES program also trains local adult volunteers to assist and mentor YES participants as they complete their community projects.