Youth Empowerment Solutions is a community-level violence prevention program that empowers youth to work with adults in making positive changes in their communities.
The YES program began in Flint, Michigan in 2004. The idea for the program came from Flint community members and University of Michigan researchers. The final program design was the result of a collaboration between Flint’s Youth Violence Prevention Center and the Prevention Research Center at the University of Michigan School of Public Health in Ann Arbor.
Flint is an urban community that has a rich history of community activism. The people of Flint also face challenges, including high rates of poverty, unemployment, and violence. The YES program was designed to address some of the challenges in Flint while building on the many assets in the community.
The YES Curriculum was revised and updated in 2017. The 2nd edition is freely available for download, along with the companion guides for evaluation and adaptation.
Over the years, the YES program has been implemented in various settings and is currently being disseminated in other sites across the United States and around the world.
- YES for Peaceful Communities (2004 – 2009): The pilot YES program in Flint, Michigan which facilitated the development of the current YES curriculum.
- YES for Positive Youth Development (2010 – 2015): The YES curriculum was used as the intervention for the NIH funded Genesee County After School Study in partnership with Flint Community Schools and the Genesee County Intermediate School District.
- YES and the Michigan Youth Violence Prevention Center (2010 – 2015): The YES curriculum was adopted as one of the six MI-YVPC interventions and was implemented in partnership with Church Without Walls in Flint, Michigan.
- STRYVE (2013-2015) and Adaptation project: STRYVE is a national youth violence prevention initiative led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Four cities across the U.S. implemented YES as a community-level approach to prevent youth violence. YES faculty and staff worked with the STRYVE program to provide training and technical assistance to the STRYVE locations and to evaluate the implementation and adaptation of the YES curriculum.
- Youth Empowerment Solutions for Healthy Relationships (2016-2019): In partnership with University of Michigan, researchers at Wayne State University are leading this project to adapt and implement the YES curriculum to address dating and sexual violence among middle schoolers in Wayne County, MI. This project is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.