To enhance the wide array of services we offer, the Urban League of Greater Atlanta enters into partnerships with other nonprofits that share a commitment to excellence and dedication to the mission of empowering communities through equal opportunity. One such partner is Youth Enhancement Services, Inc. – YES. YES has educated nearly 2,500 young people over the last 25 years through its education and prevention initiatives.
The ULGA contracts with YES to prepare those who have not yet completed high school who are in the League’s Urban Youth Empowerment and Neighborhood College program to earn their GEDs. YES also offers seminars in life skills, character development, cultural enrichment and healthy lifestyles. At the same time, YES can expand what it offers to its clients through cross referrals to various ULGA programs.
“We have a successful relationship with the League,” said Kai Williamson, executive director of YES. “We work together as a team to communicate what is going on with the clients. Together, our case management support works with them through their challenges and triumphs, alike. We get them into the programs that can best meet their needs.”
Williamson pointed to several examples of students who have earned their GEDs and transitioned into jobs and college through the ULGA-YES partnership since it began in September 2014. One ULGA student who came to YES for GED prep now works at the YES office, supplementing the power of the agency’s six-person staff to encourage students to stay on track and to help them with various issues.
YES was founded by Williamson’s mother, Lula Gilliam, in 1990. Gilliam serves as the agency’s community outreach specialist and case manager from the agency’s office on Edgewood Avenue in the Woodruff Arts Volunteer Center.
Tracey Mosley, who directs the ULGA’s youth services programs, said he is extremely pleased by the partnership with YES.
“Our communities have such a vast need for education, job training and coaching, and the League can’t do it all by ourselves. I am very impressed by the professionalism and proven track record that YES brings to our partnership,” Mosley said.
The GED program operated by YES has 12-15 students in the program at all times on three-, six- and nine-month tracks, depending on their academic levels. Students continue at their own pace, with some finishing the six-month track in five months, for example, Williamson said. During the course, students attend classes for five-hours a day, twice a week.
“The League and YES both have long histories of success helping students get their GED and go on to further their educational and career goals. Working together is a natural extension for us, and we are confident that we will have an even greater impact in partnership,” Mosley said.