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"My favorite YES moment was when my very first client graduated high school and gifted me a handwritten letter expressing how our time together supported her goal of graduating. Seven years after receiving that letter, it’s still on my ancestral altar in my home as a reminder that our legacies and the impact we leave in the works happens while we’re living." - Lori Crawford, Creativity Curator



YES would like to wish Lori Crawford, Creativity Curator, a happy 10-year anniversary! For over a decade now, Lori has worked in bringing in resources and funding to YES to make what we do possible. Thank you, Lori for all of your hard work and efforts in making this organization flourish.

To read more, please click here »

What if We Made Room for Young People?

What If We Made Room for Young People? Rebuilding Community-Institution Trust Through Youth Participatory Action Research

By Denise Jones, February 2022

YES recently published a brief in the Connected Science Learning journal of the National Science Teaching Association. The brief reflects on young people’s involvement in youth participatory action research. At YES, young people work alongside stakeholders to rebuild community-institution trust within Pittsburgh Communities. Their efforts have elicited new partnerships, improved community health, and created innovative ways to center the unique voices of young people.

To continue reading the article, please click here »


TEEN VOGUE: Gun Violence in Cities Like Pittsburgh Needs Local Solutions


YES published an Op-Ed in Teen Vogue regarding the status of gun violence in Pittsburgh and sharing personal stories of those lost due to the issue.

By Willie Knight & Jaquan Brockman, July 2022

My name is Willie Knight. On September 10, 2018, Khalil A. Logan, one of my closest friends, was fatally shot. That day, he became yet another statistic — another Black teen whose life was taken by a gun. He also became one of the 106 people who are killed by gun violence every day in the United States; one of the 7,957 children and teens who are shot on average every year; and one of the 9,991 Black Americans who die annually because of gun violence.

This is not a new issue in our communities, but it struck me deeply since it was the first time someone close to me had died. As a society, we have normalized these tragedies. The victims of gun violence have become just another headline on the daily news. 

To continue reading the article, please click here »

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YES Releases a New Article on its Motivational Mentoring Model
Motivation (Constructs) Made Simpler: Adapting Self-Determination Theory for Community-Based Youth Development Programs.
For Immediate Release:  May 2021

YES recently published an article in the Journal of Youth Development titled, Motivation (Constructs) Made Simpler: Adapting Self-Determination Theory for Community-Based Youth Development Programs.


Grounded in the motivation science literature, this paper captures YES’ model of cultivating students’ gradual internalization of motivational regulation by supporting their psychological needs of relatedness, competences, and autonomy. This article traces YES’ work over the last 27 years and provides a practical model for other youth organizations to adopt.

Growth through the Decade- 2010 - 2020 Y
YES Experiences Growth Through the Decade
Growth through the Decade: 2010 – 2020 YES Snapshot Report
For Immediate Release:  January 2021

As 2020 came to an end YES sought to find a way to effectively capture the accomplishments, challenges, and overall spirit of our last decade of work. Members of YES’ staff along with an intern from the University of Pittsburgh Community Engagement Center created a report that illustrated the myriad aspects of YES that have defined the last ten years.


This report, “Growth through the Decade: 2010 – 2020 YES Snapshot Report”, serves to honor the legacy of YES while acknowledging the present moments we currently find ourselves in and preparing for the future. Similarly to every program and initiative YES takes on, the report is grounded in and driven by the voices of the youth we serve. As a result, the report is shaped around survey feedback, interviews, and informal conversations had with current YES youth and alumni. The common themes that arose time and again in these interactions are a testament to the lasting impact YES has on the youth it serves, even as these individuals enter adulthood. 


We are excited to share this snapshot of our work over the last decade and hope to use this moment to spring us into another decade of success.

Click here to download »

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