Locations: 15733 First Street, Victorville, CA 92392
Manager: Paul Durham
Phone: (760) 241-2344
Date Established: Foster Youth Services started in 1998 in Northern California, San Bernardino County branch started in 1999, YES Center established in 2005
Number local employees: 3 full time employees, 1 contracted employee in the High Desert, 3 employees in San Bernardino
By Nolan Patrick Smith
High Desert Daily
(Victor Valley)–Being a foster youth can be challenging, as is being a foster parent. At times, one may not know how to handle certain obstacles that arise, but there is a wealth of resources out there for the foster youth/parent community in the form of Foster Youth Services-YES Center.
Founded in 2005, the YES Center is run through the state mandated, state funded Foster Youth Services department of the San Bernardino Superintendent of Schools. The goal is to ensure that foster youth are improving academically.
“Traditionally foster youth’s graduate at a 30% rate, compared to the regular student population that graduates at a 60% rate,” stated Paul Durham, Manager of the YES Center. In their efforts to help the foster youth community, the organization offers training to all 33 school districts: to counselors, teachers, and administrators in issues relating to foster youth. Trainings are also provided to various foster parent organizations.
The YES Center came to be as the previous manager of Foster Youth Services in the High Desert noticed that exiting foster youth were having issues getting on their feet and becoming successful as adults. She started the YES Center program under the Foster Youth Services program. Initially it started with a California Wellness Foundation grant, which covered case management for emancipated foster youth. Case Managers find out what services the youth needs, whether it be training, workshops or emergency needs, and form a plan with the youth. A long term plan is developed as well, which covers education, career planning, and knowing what grants and resources are available to the youth. The center also has strong community relationships with the Career Institute, Job Corps, and the California Conservation Corps, where it assists youth into transitioning into these programs.
“All our services are individualized, so whatever a student needs, even if it’s not something we traditionally have available, we will do the research and find someone that offers those services, and we will reach out on behalf of the student and make sure they can access those services.”
On site services include tutoring three times a week, as well as bus passes to help the youth’s journey around this spread out desert landscape. If a youth needs to obtain legal documents such as a California ID, Social Security Card and Birth Certificate, the center will pay the fees for them, as well as offer transportation to obtain the documents needed.
Just within the last month, the YES Center has given out over 150 backpacks, stuffed with school supplies needed for an educational success. The backpacks came from Feed the Children, through the Homeless Services Program for county schools. Partnerships are key for any organization, but especially one that serves such a great purpose.
With 5 portables being used by the YES Center, three are training rooms, which are used by various community partners. Children Family Service’s Independent Living program, Probation’s ISLP classes, a foster parent organization, Millionaire Minds Kids, and three of the local FFA’s do their trainings on site, making the resources the YES Center has to offer readily available.
“With so many community partners already here, the kids know we are here, it’s a win-win situation. ”
For more information on the YES Center, feel free to contact them directly at the website or phone number listed above.