Rising Star Reborn!

We're happy to announce that we have successfully completed the first Rising Star Youth Intensive since 2007. Fourteen inner-city youth participated, including the two teen-age daughters of a 1990 graduate of Rising Star I.

From its birth in 1988, Rising Star, our signature program, has set us apart from other mentoring organizations. One-to-one mentoring, academic tutoring, monthly group sessions and community service projects are features of both Rising Star and its less costly offshoot, Coaching for Success, that was created in 1993. Both programs are based on the life-altering cornerstones of Possibility, Responsibility, Commitment, Support and Forgiveness .

What makes Rising Star truly unique (and earned us recognition by Pres. George H.W. Bush as America's 1,003rd "Point of Light") is the Intensive Course, a powerful bonding experience that serves as the entry point for all participants. We transport teens out of their usual surroundings for several days, and shepherd them through a highly structured course combining guided group conversations with challenging physical activities designed to foster self-esteem and cooperation with others.

During in-depth discussions in the Course Room, the Rising Stars look at how they came to be the way they are, what they want out of life, and what they must do to make that happen . Based on what they learn, they make reasonable promises for self-improvement. Equally important, teens practice empowering procedures for dealing with their inevitable mistakes and broken commitments, and emerge from the Intensive Course prepared for the supportive mentoring relationship with a trained adult Committed Partner that is the heart of the year-long Follow-through program.

Want evidence of the power of this bonding experience? Just ask one of the original Rising Stars who completed the program back in the early 1990s. An alumni participant group still meets on a regular basis - its members swap stories about how life is going and reminisce about their Committed Partners, trust falls and high ropes elements - and the courage it took to open up and face their fears.

Our goal is to increase Atlanta's inner-city high-school graduation rate that right now is a bit over 50%. Successful completion of high-school makes a tremendous difference in lifetime earnings, benefiting both the teens and our society as a whole.

Stay tuned for stories and progress reports, and consider making a contribution to our Rising Star Renaissance Fund, generating the resources we need to successfully produce this unique and transformative program.

Our Mission

YES!Atlanta seeks give these at-risk teenagers a chance to experience personal success through voluntary programs based on long-term regular support by committed, caring and trained adults.

Youth and Mentor

Our goals are to:
  • Increase academic skills and performance
  • Reduce self-defeating behaviors
  • Increase self-esteem
  • Raise graduation rates
  • Improve relationships with family, peers, and others


Our History

Youth and Mentor

In 1988 a small group of citizens concerned about despair among inner-city youth joined hands to create what later became YES!Atlanta (standing for Youth Experiencing Success ). We delivered our first Rising Star program in 1990, and our first Coaching for Success program two years later.

In the years since, Rising Star and Coaching for Success have impacted the lives of nearly 1,000 teenagers. In 1993, President George Bush named YES!Atlanta America's 1,003rd "Point of Light" in recognition of the quality of our work with at-risk teens.


Many thanks to these recent supporters

And these generous individuals and organizations

Kevin Campbell

The Rich Foundation

Winston Wilson

Michael Halpern

Jennifer Koontz

Scott Cullen

Carmen Davis

Christi Johnson

John Hatfield

Ken Schuckers

Madison Fisher

Harold Hardnett

Paul Isler DDS

Gordon Waller

Joyce Abrams

Laller DeCosta

Alison Halpern

Marcus Ladd

Braves award


On September 24th, YES!Atlanta received a substantial grant from the Atlanta Braves Foundation in support of our ongoing work with teens in the city. These funds will help fund our two new projects, Coaching for Success/Carver, an extension of our long-running Coaching for Success program, and a new project just launched, the YES!Atlanta's Young Leaders Club. We very much appreciate this honor.

Rich award


We are also pleased to report a significant grant from THE RICH FOUNDATION in apprec - iation of the value of our work with youth since 1990.

Young Leadership Academy


The Coretta Scott King Young Women's Academy, a unit of the Atlanta Public Schools system, has invited the YES!Atlanta Young Leaders Club to deliver a support and mentoring program at the school. The mission of YES!Atlanta aligns well with the Academy's fundamental purpose - to increase student achievement and prepare all of the students for success in middle school through college and beyond.

We work with up to 25 8th grade girls during weekly sessions on Fridays from 3:30 to 5 PM at the school. YES!Atlanta Committed Partner volunteers will be assigned to groups of girls to support them in completing personal commitments to their growth into secure and fulfilled members of their community.

Villages at Carver


We've expanded our long-term mentoring program, Coaching for Success , into a second location - The Villages at Carver, a large mixed-income community located on the site of the former Carver Homes just south of Turner Field. Here we are continuing our 23-year long effort to have Youth Experience Success.

Peer pressure weighs heavily on inner-city youth. Committed Partner support helps greatly, and enrolling teens living in this residential neighborhood makes possible the building of an "outside of school" mutually-supporting peer group that our experience shows significantly increases a teenager's ability to thrive and resist the ever-present pull of the "mean streets".



It might have been my son in that orange jump suit...."

A long-time YES!Atlanta volunteer's personal story

To read this story, click here


 PO BOX 54692
  Atlanta, GA 30308

Email to Matt Wynalda

Executive Director

Email to Dottie Wimberly

Program Director

Email to Mary Mitchell

Program Specialist

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