YES! stands for "Youth Experiencing Success"

Given their circumstances, many inner-city teens feel hopeless about their future. We seek to change this bleak view of life.

YES!Atlanta's programs, Rising Star and Coaching for Success, are built around these core concepts and life-altering imperatives:

My future can be different from what I see all around me

Turning my possibilities into realities is really up to me

Changing my future requires my firm commitment to my personal goals

I must ask for support when I need it, accept support when it's offered, and support others when I can.

Letting go of past hurts frees me to look ahead to my brighter future

Here's What our Programs Seek to Do

  • Increase academic skills and performance
  • Reduce self-defeating behaviors
  • Increase self-esteem
  • Raise graduation rates of inner-city schools
  • Improve relationships with family, peers, and others

Rising Star was born in 1990. Featuring an out-of-town Intensive Course, Rising Star has been in suspense for the past several years for funding reasons, but is being revived. Coaching for Success, its less expensive offshoot, was created in 1993 as an ongoing partnership with the Fulton County Juvenile Court that sends some teenagers to us as an alternative to adjudication. Other youth enroll voluntarily or at the suggestion of school counselors.

Coaching for Success has been expanding. At a second site, the Villages at Carver community located just south of Turner Field, teens living in the neighborhood will enroll voluntarily. A third site, the Coretta Scott King Young Women's Project, is different mainly because teenage girls and their Committed Partners will meet at the school once a week.

Unlike most mentoring programs, teens enrolling in Rising Star and Coaching for Success are required to make specific, reasonably attainable commitments for self-improvement in areas such as school performance, parental relations, or reduction of self-defeating behavior. They are paired with a trained adult volunteer mentor called a Committed Partner who becomes the "wall" around these personal commitments.

For a year, the Committed Partners (adult and teen) will meet face-to-face for at least an hour per week, and communicate often by phone or the social media - always asking the question "What are you doing to achieve your commitments?" . The process of building mutual trust is slow, but the resulting relationship often lasts longer than a year.

Knowing the cost to teens of dropping out of high school, we support them in moving ahead to earn a diploma or a G.E.D. certificate by offering tutoring by volunteers for two hours per week in a variety of basic subjects.

Monthly group meetings are an important element of both programs. These allow for open sharing of problems that have come up and solutions that benefit everyone.

As the names Rising Star and Coaching for Success suggest, all of this activity is directed toward supporting the youth in growing into fulfilled and contributing adult members of their community.


Read about Simeon in our Blog

LaMontae said this about Gordon, his Committed Partner: "He was very valuable to me. I was able to learn about colleges, how to complete a college application, find scholarships, and improve my writing skills. I was also helped with studying for the SAT and the ACT." LaMontae is now freshman at Georgia State University, the first of his family to go to college.

Kurtis and Darnell

Kurtis Bush is a 24-year-old student at Georgia State University. He finds much fulfillment in mentoring, calling it "an amazing experience". Recalling that he was a bit nervous when entering the Coaching for Success program, Kurtis says that he and his Committed Partner Darnell have already learned much from each other during their six-month relationship, becoming like brothers. Both of them have grown as a result.

As Kurtis explains, "Darnell's youth and playfulness helps offset my somewhat reserved and stern personality and occasional tendency to procrastinate. I am inordinately proud of Darnell. He is really taking in what I am offering him and applying it to his life. He has dug deep to find ways to improve his grades and overall school performance. I consider us a team and look forward to many more accomplishments together."

"It's such a huge blessing to be able to make a difference in someone's life, and I want to thank Darnell for being such a blessing to me".

(Read more about this relationship on our Blog)

"...I liked being in Rising Star because they really encouraged me to do something with myself. I got into fights a lot - my commit-ment starting in the program was not to fight. And now I don't fight! I take responsibility and I walk away from it. What's different? I made a commitment not to fight. My Com-mitted Partner and all YES!Atlanta people have supported me in keeping my promise."

Cherise with Committed Partners Julie Witt and Michael Halpern in 1990


 PO BOX 54692
  Atlanta, GA 30308

Email to Dottie Wimberly

Program Director

Email to Mary Mitchell

Program Specialist