YESPhilly (a.k.a. Youth Empowerment Services) is many things. We are an educational program, a place to get support to get into college or get a job, a place to learn technology skills, a media arts center, and a place for counseling support. We offer pre-GED, GED preparatory, and pre-college classes; counseling services; and college and career readiness supports. YESPhilly classes are small, and designed to engage student interest. All of this is connected to highly engaging media and arts studio courses that provide the opportunity to learn by doing and tap into everyone's creativity.
Academics: YESPhilly has math, literacy, and technology literacy classes, and helps students gain the skills they need to pass the GED test and succeed in college. Classes are small and are designed so students can start at all levels. YESPhilly classes are varied, and include hands-on and group activities that make learning fun.
Life Skills and Career Prep: YESPhilly students set individualized goals as soon as they arrive, and develop life and career skills during transitions seminars. We help students make good career decisions, apply for jobs, and get immediate part-time jobs while in the program.
College Prep: YESPhilly has a GED to College fast-track (G2C) for students who are ready to work hard and go to college. In addition to higher-level classes, G2C students go on college tours, learn how to apply to college and get financial aid, and get support to make sure they succeed.
Technology Careers: YESPhilly students can specialize in technology and computers. YESTech includes additional hands-on classes in Microsoft software and systems, computer repair, and web design. We help students get the training they need for careers in information technology.
Media Arts: YESPhilly students have a chance to develop their creativity through media arts studio courses while also developing skills they'll need for college and careers. After starting with the Media Arts Sampler Course, students can sign up for elective classes in Sound production, Animation and Web Design, or Mural and Fine Arts. Students learn to record and make soundtracks, film and edit videos, create animation, design websites and graphic projects, and learn to draw and paint.
Counseling: YESPhilly counselors work with every student and their family to provide the support and develop the skills they need to face the challenges they meet. At YESPhilly, students develop the habits and skills they will need to succeed in college and careers: responsibility, persistence, initiative, teamwork, and goal-setting. Our program has an unusually high counselor-to-student ratio, which gives us the capacity to assess and address each student's individual goals, needs, and barriers to success.
Najua Curtis was in 11th grade when she left Ben Franklin High School. As is the case with many youth, she had faced many obstacles that led to her departure from school. Her mother's instability left Najua and her siblings relocating from shelter to shelter. In her search for support and stability, she started to spend most of her time with her boyfriend.
Najua had dreams of becoming a nurse and she knew that she needed to return to school to make that happen. In the summer of 2011, she began to search for a new school. She heard about the G2C program at YESPhilly and applied. Najua was young and immature and benefited greatly from the support of her counselor, classmates, and G2C Director. Najua was determined to succeed, but was sometimes discouraged due to the continuous housing issues. When she stopped attending, YESPhilly persistently worked with her until her attendance improved.
Najua earned her GED after her 18th birthday in November, 2011. She participated in an internship at Mercy Hospital and applied for CCP's Nursing Program. The G2C staff supported her throughout her enrollment process. She is progressing well in her classes at CCP and credits it to the college preparation classes that she received in the G2C program. The essay writing, techniques to communicate with her professors, and the Dell laptop computer helped to prepare her for success. She meets with the G2C director weekly to pick up her SEPTA Transpass and touch base.
Najua successfully completed her first year at CCP and plans to take an English class during the summer session. She will meet with G2C director for assistance with PHEAA summer grant.