What you helped us accomplish in 2023
Enjoy this letter from YES CEO David W. Downing and YES Board President Brian Cheney, part of this year’s YES’ Annual Report.
Dear YES Community – Eastside Children, Youth and Families, Clients, Donors, and Partners
At YES, 2022 was focused on recovery and reimagining. We are so appreciative of the community support shown to YES and the children, youth, and families we serve, and we want to be sure you know that we are here for you too. So many of you, either through volunteering, attending our first back in-person Invest in Youth Breakfast, donating funds, continuing partnerships, and much more, truly helped keep YES strong. We are immensely grateful to each one of you.
In addition to YES’ financial recovery needs you have likely already read or heard about, in 2022 we also focused on supporting the resiliency and recovery of staff. Over the past few years our clinicians and outreach staff ceaselessly focused on helping clients presenting with significant life stressors, a greater volume of disruptive household and classroom behaviors, and intense behavioral health challenges like severe depression, anxiety, and substance use issues, at a time when they too may have had increased stress and struggles.
To help, as an organization we built a team of staff members interested in learning about and recommending trauma-informed workplace practices. As a result, one of the actions we implemented was to provide additional behavioral healthcare access to help staff who found YES’ medical insurance plan or Employee Assistance Program options cost prohibitive or unavailable. Another recommended action we have taken was to expand our Leadership and Diversity Advisory teams to facilitate more growth in our workplace equity and inclusion efforts.
Additionally, although we recognize that as a not-for-profit human services organization we aren’t always able to compensate staff as highly as the for-profit sector, YES Board and Management have done as much as possible in that respect. We have also tried to find creative ways to support and reward the outstanding staff efforts.
In 2022 YES turned challenges into opportunities by reimagining some critical components of our work.
The escalated client struggles inspired us to reimagine our service offerings in 2022 and lay the groundwork for the 2023 launch of a deeper more intense level of treatment known as the WISe program. WISe stands for “wrap around with intensive services” and for families with higher behavioral health needs, provides multiple staff members in different roles to support the client and family.
Our goals of greater access for clients through tools such as HIPAA compliant texting and emailing, improved customer service, and better preparedness for future events requiring off-site work (i.e., severe weather, stay-at-home mandates, etc.) inspired us to evaluate and reimagine our technological capabilities. As a result, we upgraded our electronic medical records and phone systems, and transitioned to additional cloud-based business services.
While YES received extra financial support in the height of the pandemic, in 2022, we saw this funding begin to subside, in addition to an ongoing significant decrease in Medicaid reimbursements. The YES Board of Trustees and internal Leadership Team began reimagining new long-term strategies to strengthen our financial foundation for the future.
Children and families are resilient, but we know from history that these past few years will have a generational impact on all of us. We expect even more individuals – young and old – to seek support. At YES, we will continue to build on our 2022 efforts of recovery and reimagining to explore and implement strategies that will allow us serve even more people effectively. We are already looking at different support groups and evidence-based practices to increase our agility and flexibility.
In the meantime, please know that you have been a significant part of making 2022 a year of recovery and reimagining for YES. Without you, it wouldn’t have been possible. We truly appreciate you and your role in transforming the lives of young people for the better.
David W. Downing
2022 YES Board of Trustees President
Providing mental health and substance use treatment is only made possible through the generosity of our donors. Please consider making a gift today to ensure ALL children, youth, and families receive the support they need, no matter their financial situation.