YES Institute is an organization dedicated to using education and communication to make our world safer for all youth. It grew out of the stand that two women, Martha Fugate and Connie Barden took to impact the conditions that exist whereby gay youth want to, and often do, take their own life.
YES Institute began as a volunteer effort in 1996, never intending to become an organization, much less YES Institute. It all started by meeting with local community leaders and educators to find out what could be done. In those dialogues it was discovered that three missing pieces to the puzzle of why well-intentioned professionals were, one- not taking the right actions, and two– they lacked education and three-they were not comfortable talking about gay youth.
This led to what would be the clear focus of our work, using communication and education to empower professionals in every field to serve all youth and ensure their healthy development, even when the provider held conflicted moral judgments on the topic. And 25 years later, that remains to be the foundation of what fulfills our mission – To ensure the healthy development of all youth through powerful communication and education on gender and orientation.
We soon found that this approach was very unique. Because we are the only not for profit organization that is strictly about education, not advocacy or politics, we have gotten requests for our service from all over the world. Perhaps surprisingly, large portions of these requests have come from religious leaders, healthcare providers, school systems, and organizations.
During these 25 years, we have had many challenges, none of which stopped us from doing the work of saving lives and repairing families, affected by the stigma of gender and orientation. There have been financial challenges that have paralleled the ups and downs of our economy. And our donors and partners have always been there, being the most generous, which has allowed us to do our work unencumbered.
So far we have raised $
35,750 towards our $
250,000 target! That’s
14% of the total!