Youth Empowerment Society
Empowering Youth to Make Better, Informed and Healthier Life Decisions
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The Hamilton County Coalition Youth Empowerment Society or Y.E.S. offers young people ages 13-18 the opportunity to learn, develop skills, advocate, and participate in substance use prevention efforts. Y.E.S. is active throughout the year, promoting the Coalition's mission.
Y.E.S. works to educate and empower youth to make healthy decisions about remaining tobacco free, to avoid or end substance use, and to remain free of underage alcohol use.
The Annual Summer Program is a unique feature of the Youth Empowerment Society. Each Summer, Y.E.S. hosts a summer program that addresses prevention and intervention thematically.
In 2020, the Summer Program focused on the impact of messaging on youth across various media such as movies, television, the internet, and social media. The Y.E.S. participants actively created messaging designed to influence peer behavior.
The 2021 Summer Program introduced the participants to the Power of Creative Arts in Media Messaging. The youth worked with various subject matter experts learning how artists use photography, graphic design, imaging, music, sound effects, painting, sculpture, and other art forms to shape public perception, opinion, and behavior.
The Y.E.S. Program utilizes the expertise of the Coalition’s membership to train and mentor youth participants. The young people, in turn, mentor at-risk elementary and middle school-aged youth across Chattanooga about the dangers associated with illicit drug use and violence while also assisting the Coalition with health fairs, community prescription drug take-backs, town hall meeting and social media campaigns.
Over 70 Y.E.S. ambassadors have graduated from the program. Among other impactful accomplishments like mentoring over 750 at-risk youth, Y.E.S. ambassadors convinced the Hamilton County School Board to revise the tobacco policy to make every school in Hamilton County a 100% tobacco-free campus.
Since 2008, the Hamilton County Coalition has been a community “change agent” with a mission to facilitate community change through comprehensive strategies, capacity building, community collaboration, and neighborhood problem-solving.
It’s critical to prevent youth from ever getting involved in these dangerous lifestyles to reduce the harms caused by illicit drug distribution, substance abuse, gang affiliation/violence, early high school drop-out, and more. With knowledge being power, the Youth Empowerment Society Summer Program was born in 2015.