“In every success story that inspires each of us, a mentor is always credited and thanked.” 

At YES, this statement is at the heart of everything we do. What sets YES apart from other service providers is the manner in which mentoring is the foundation for all YES endeavors. At every tier of engagement, mentoring is a catalyst to convey, inspire, empower, and uphold strong personal self-conduct. It is central to YES’ philosophy of improved physical, emotional, and academic development as means to achieve cultural enrichment, career development, and life skills enhancement. In short, mentoring is the heartbeat of YES.


YES’ comprehensive mentorship model includes opportunities for: peer to peer, near-peer to peer, staff to student, staff to family, and staff to staff mentoring. Our holistic mentorship approach allows YES to successfully engage its staff, the community, students, and families in becoming their own best and most valuable resource. YES echoes that above all else, peer mentorship is the most transformative mentorship approach—as it promotes opportunities for youth and family development and empowerment, encourages positive youth decision-making habits, and strengthens students’ sense of community.  

Mentorship Approaches

Peer to Peer

One-to-one mentoring between two high school peers. 

Near-Peer to Peer

One-to-one mentoring between college-aged peers supporting younger students. 

Staff to Family

Staff mentoring families by helping them access resources, navigate challenges, and gain financial literacy.

Staff to Staff

Veteran staff and leadership  mentoring incoming personnel.


Staff to Student

Group mentoring or one-to-one mentoring that occurs between staff and enrolled students. 

Mentorship Model 

YES employs a mentorship model with four concentric circles that, in accordance with the science of motivation, gradually lead inward. That is, each inner circle symbolizes the progressive internalization of motivational regulation. YES operationalizes this motivational model through a program of strengths-based mentorship that focuses on “the identification, exploration, and use of strengths in children and youth to foster positive mental health outcomes at school, at home and in the community” (Alberta 2). Strengths-based mentorship centralizes students’ psychological needs, the very needs most overlooked by the education system. Through strengths-based mentoring, YES helps students extend their preexisting assets by exposing them to new opportunities related to employment, academics, leadership development, community engagement, and recreation. Students see their competence, especially their ability to face and overcome challenges, and grow through these experiences. 


1.  Holistic Nourishment—Following the motto, “No throw-away kids,” YES supports students’ physical, emotional, and psychological needs. In this way, a strong, family-like atmosphere emerges that builds trust between students and staff. This foundation of trust encourages students to engage the process more enthusiastically over time.

2.  Asset Nurturing and Capacity Building—YES recognizes that its students have many assets and resources, so rather than remediating deficits, the goal is to expose students to new opportunities, which helps them build on their strengths and leverage their assets into professional, academic, social, and cultural capital.

3.  Autonomy and Excellence—YES cultivates student autonomy to pursue projects that are both personally meaningful and intellectually rigorous, which further cultivates the internalization of motivation.

4.  Advocacy and Empowerment—At the innermost circle, YES students become their own advocates for change in their communities. Driven by a sense of purpose, students are empowered to fight the opportunity gap and work toward a more equal, just society.

Mentorship Model
motivation diagram.png

National Quality Mentoring System

quality mentoring certification.png

YES recently completed the National Quality Mentoring System (NQMS) process. The NQMS evaluates our programs to ensure that they are in alignment with the Elements of Effective Practice and other research-based best practices. The NQMS creates recognized standards and procedures for the operation of high-quality mentoring programs based on evidence and guidelines for continuous improvement within a program. 

Click for more information on the NQMS