Youth Empowerment & Support Services

by June 3, 2013
filed under Activism

Imagine being a youth in crisis and alone at the age of 16. No helping hand to support and guide you through high school and no food or shelter. In 1978, youth were on their own from 16 years old until their 18th birthday. Fortunately a group of people noticed a gap in services for youth in Alberta, Canada and this resulted in Youth Empowerment & Support Services (YESS) opening their doors in 1982.

YESS is a not-for-profit organization that works towards unconditionally giving hope to youth facing difficult obstacles, while supplying them with options, support and a future as well.  What I admire most about YESS is that they are not just an emergency shelter for children but they also offer invaluable services. Some of the core values they stand for are: Being open and honest; caring and respectful; passionate and professional and committed to the kids.

Young people have the right to develop intellectually, emotionally, physically, and spiritually to their fullest potential and, with encouragement and support, the right to determine the direction of such development. This is just one of the philosophies YESS believes in.

YESS welcomes all kinds of kids and teenagers who may be dealing with issues concerning their parents, drinking, drugs or school. YESS understands and wants to help.

The shelter program YESS offers is designed for youth ages 15 to 18 and operates every single day. The shelter has 18 beds that are given on a first-come, first-served basis. Youth are only allowed to stay for one night but can return as often as they need to. In total, over 500 youth access this shelter a year!

Just as much as struggling youth need a place to go at night, they often need one to go to during the day as well. Fortunately YESS’ Armoury Youth Centre is a safe place that is accessible to youth 7 days a week. The centre provides basic necessities such as: Recreation, medical help, food, clothing and a fitness facility. Some of the activities youth can partake in while at the centre are things like break-dancing/hip-hop lessons, movie nights, art and craft classes, karaoke, skating and swimming. It sounds like a ton of fun and I am sure that kids and teens have an amazing time! In addition to having a blast, YESS also provides role modeling and mentorship programs in order to give youth the skills required to survive on their own.

Sky Program, Start Program and Program Enhancement are other programs created by YESS. To find out more about these programs check them out here.

If you would like to help youth through their hardships and support them in building goals for themselves and succeeding in life, then get involved today! There are various ways you can take part such as: Supporting an event, organizing an event, becoming a member or volunteering. All kinds of people volunteer and take on all kinds of roles where each person has their own reason for doing so.  Generation YESS refers to the special group of people who come from all spheres of life with a common goal to help children in need. Join today by contacting YESS at

Your generosity is always appreciated, so why not donate? Check out YESS’ Pinterest page. to see what items the kids at YESS need.

Homeless for a Night and EHS Red Dress Run 2013 are 2 upcoming fundraising events. If you have some free time on your hands then I encourage you to participate.  Homeless for a Night happens on June 7 that focuses on the reality of teenage homelessness by providing participants with a small taste of what one night without the comforts of home would be like. This event will push people to imagine a life with far less luxury.  The EHS Red Dress Run takes place on June 14 and 15 where you get the chance to put on a red dress and join in on two days of running and raising money! You can either volunteer for this event or run in it!

YESS is an incredible organization that goes above and beyond when helping youth, while effectively inspiring others to help out as well. Without a doubt, youth at YESS have fun and are cared for exceptionally well. If you are interested in learning more about YESS check out their website. and their blog. Also follow them on Twitter, Facebook to keep updated on the amazing things they continue to do.

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