More than 150 supporters, volunteers, and friends came together on December 3 to celebrate Youth Enrichment Services (YES) and its achievements throughout the year. The event was held at Fenway Park’s State Street Pavilion. It was an especially meaningful night as the organization concluded its year-long celebration of YES’s 50th Anniversary.
YES teen leader, Ammal, and YES alumni, Tyla, spoke at the event. Ammal has been involved in YES’s Leadership Corps program since 2016. She says that the program has helped her grow and take on more responsibilities throughout high school. She remarked, “I truly would not be the person I am today if it weren’t for YES.”
Tyla is a YES alumni and recent graduate from Bentley University. She was involved in a variety of YES programs from ages 8-18 and was part of the YES Alumni Support initiative throughout her four years at college. Reflecting on what YES means to her, Tyla says that “it is a place where everyone knows you and is going to push you to be the best individual you can be.”
YES parent, Janet Duval, also spoke at the event. Her daughter, Chloe, joined the YES Summer Track & Field Program when it was still very new. She was involved with summer track & field, fall cross country, and the summer GOAL program during her time as a YES youth. Today, Chloe is an assistant coach with YES Track & Field every summer. Janet believes that YES has helped shape Chloe to be the person she is today. Janet stated, “As parents we show our children patience and endurance. We give them skills, like how to be organized and show empathy. We show them and we teach them. But when one program emphasizes what we are doing in various ways, then we have to give kudos.”
Eddie Jenkins was a special guest speaker at the event. He grew up in Boston’s South End and volunteered at YES before playing professional football for the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots. After retiring from pro-football, Eddie entered Suffolk Law School and followed a rising career track in law. Eddie is also an adjunct professor at Suffolk University Law School where he has taught for 15 years, as well as a Board Member of Urban Edge. Eddie gave a powerful speech that highlighted the impact YES has in the community and emphasized how important it is for youth. He is extremely supportive about the collaborative efforts of YES and Urban Edge.
The 2018 YES Champion Award was also presented at the event. This year’s recipient was Boston Beer Company. They have been providing financial and in-kind resources to YES more than 30 years, making them one of the longest and most committed supporters.
Thank you for joining us! To see more photos from the event, click here to view the album on Facebook.