YES: Youth Empowerment Solutions



Youth Empowerment Solutions is an evidence-based positive youth development program that is based on the theory of youth empowerment and community engagement.

The goals of the YES program are to provide youth with opportunities for meaningful involvement in preventing youth violence and creating community change, enhance neighborhood organizations’ ability to engage youth in their activities, and change the social and physical environment to reduce and prevent violence (especially youth violence). The project involves youth in the process of changing community physical and social environments and includes three components: 1) youth empowerment activities; 2) neighborhood organization development; and 3) community development projects that involve youth and organizations working together. 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 Programs

  • 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 is being used as the intervention for the 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 has been adopted as one of the six MI-YVPC interventions and is implemented in partnership with Church Without Walls in Flint, Michigan
  • YES Adaptations for STRYVE (2013-2015): The YES curriculum is being disseminated and adapted in four STRYVE program communities nationwide.
  • YES for Healthy Relationships (2016-2020): The YES curriculum is being adapted and used to promote positive youth development and reduce Teen Dating Violence (TDV). The research team is led by Wayne State University investigators, Drs. Poco Kernsmith and Joanne Smith-Darden.

For more information about YES and implementing YES in your community visit our YES website.

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