The YESS Institute provides secondary school students the skills to shift the negative cycle of poverty, dropout and violence into a positive cycle of leadership development, civic engagement and economic contribution through peer mentoring and emotional intelligence.
“If we want tomorrow to be a world where we want people to be caring and people to be productive, we have to invest today in our future leaders. We have to teach them what it means to be caring for the community. We have to teach them what it means to have empathy for others and to give back. But we also have to teach them how to deal with these tricky situations in our life and all the obstacles that life throws at us, so that they can be successful and get to be those caring and productive members in the communities.” - Carlo Kriekels, YESS Co-founder & CEO
"The YESS program has helped me make more friends and make better bonds with people. The YESS program has also given me the time to get caught up on missing assignments, get ahead of my classes, and try new things. Being in the YESS program has given me the help and confidence that I needed to become who I am today. When I was a YESS mentee I had a mentor that I was able to look up to. I could trust them and ask them for help and I wasn't as scared to ask for help with things I needed like I was before. I now am a mentor and I have a mentee that looks up to me the same way.” - Destiny Alcala | YESS Mentor, 8th Grade
"The best thing about YESS in my opinion is that you get to help younger kids in your school form into great students. I think YESS is the best program/elective you can possibly take in middle school.” - From Elyas Romero | YESS Mentor, 8th Grade
“Being in YESS Mentoring my 4 years of high school has taught me many different things: social emotional learning, post-secondary acceptance, life outside of school, and more. Being in the YESS class has made me warm up and get out of my comfort zone by having class/group activities and discussions. Every year I've made sure to ask for the YESS Mentoring class because I got a lot of support in class from my teachers and mentors when I was in 9th-11th grade. I've always pushed myself in class and in school so I could learn how to be a great mentor for YESS when I got to being a senior. I want every other high schooler to get the same experience as I did and be as successful as every other YESS mentor. I expect for the rest of the high school students to build great relationships with their mentors and teachers as well so that they can get motivated and see that this class could do a lot more for them than just giving them high school credits. Overall, YESS mentoring has motivated me to be in school and continue to push myself to work harder and be a better person not only for myself but for people around me as well.” - Natalie Perez | YESS Mentor, North High School
"YESS had a lot of influence on me wanting to become a college student. YESS helped me inspire other students especially the mentees know who had difficulties with their educational goals and planning for after high school. I wanted to show them we can do it you know just having a program that guides you not only do high school but to your path to college. YESS gives you the foundation that you need to lean on.” - Anna Quezada-Villa | Former YESS Mentor, current college student at University of Denver
The ROI of YESS Programs
Research shows that investing in youth development has a positive impact on economic growth and social well-being. Young people who receive support and training are more likely to succeed in the workforce, contribute to their communities, and have a positive impact on society as a whole. Supporting YESS Institute can help ensure that more young people have access to these opportunities, thus benefiting the company and the community.
"YESS builds inclusive learning communities to support students on their Road to Success."
Carlo Kriekels completed two law degrees, mastered five languages, and traveled extensively. On one of his trips, a motorbike tour of South America, his life was dramatically changed when he began volunteering at a Colombian shelter for abandoned children and street youth. Upon returning home, he began a quest to find deeper meaning in his life and he discovered his passion-providing emotional intelligence leadership training workshops. After intensive training, he worked with an international training institute to facilitate expensive training workshops for business leaders from around the world. In 2001, he came full circle and combined his interest in youth with the skills learned in the for-profit world and created the nonprofit YESS Institute to bring emotional intelligence leadership training to nonprofit agencies and at-risk youth.