In 1978, a group of people noticed a huge gap in services for young people in Alberta. Until the age of sixteen, youth in crisis could access Child and Family Services. After they turned eighteen, the adult support systems opened up to them. See a problem here?
You got it. After their sixteenth birthday and until their eighteenth birthday, there were no resources available to them. For two years—two very important years in anyone’s life—these young people had no one to turn to. No assistance for housing. No one to help them get through high school. No one to help them eat, sleep, or live safely.
It’s not surprising that a lot of these youth ended up on the streets, became involved with drugs or sex work, and just gave up on trying to graduate from high school. As anyone who has been through this can tell you, two years on your own at the age of sixteen can set the tone for the rest of your life.
In 1981, YESS opened its doors at 9310-82 Avenue, providing shelter, safety, and hope to youth facing difficult realities. Over the years, thousands of kids have come through our doors. We’ve given them options, support, and a future.