From YES to Success: Makalia Holston Smith, Bold and Beautiful


At YES, we consider it a privilege and an honor when our current youth refer their peers and closest friends to our non-profit. It shows that they trust you, but most importantly, it demonstrates the value they see in what you offer; because of this, they want their friends to benefit from that “good thing,” too. The same was true for Makalia. Makalia got connected to YES because of a friend who felt she needed support navigating post-secondary opportunities. Makalia was described as a high-achieving honors student who was extremely brilliant and multi-talented but merely selling herself short. From the sounds of it, Makalia was exactly the student YES hopes to guide: a student peppered with promise and purpose but not quite sure of all they possess and carry. It was beyond a blessing that she connected with YES, and an even sweeter opportunity to see all the amazing things Makalia is accomplishing. 

Makalia has a bold and courageous personality and is limitless in her pursuits. A co-founder of a non-profit organization and a leader of various student groups, Makalia applied to 25 colleges with the hopes of matriculating to a place where she can continue her environmental justice commitment. Makalia has been accepted into nearly all her schools and has received competitive financial aid packages. With full scholarships to Virginia Tech, Lafayette, and Xavier, and waitlisted options at CMU, NYU, and Lehigh, Makalia is destined for greatness and prepared to attend a prestigious institution. 

Makalia is a prolific writer, thinker, and scholar who is dedicated to justice and equity. She values learning and always places it at the center of her priorities. Her intellectual curiosity fuels her passion for new knowledge and keeps her thinking, questioning, and wondering. Her love for exploring and learning new concepts and ideas is truly unmatched and her hunger for success is even more contagious. As one of several black females exploring post-secondary education, Makalia is silently rejecting the limitations society attempts to place on her. She is discreetly rewriting the narrative of who can succeed and who can be a scholar, making college entrance and achievement more tangible for her younger peers and for YES students who could not previously see paths to success.

We are extremely proud of her ambitious dreams and goals and are excited to support her in this next phase of life. We feel very fortunate to have had a front row seat to her current journey. We also know that her dynamic spirit and boundless energy will vibrate the heartbeat of any university campus.


6031 Broad Street #202

Pittsburgh, PA  15206 


T: 412-661-7834 

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