YES Institute’s mission is to prevent suicide and ensure the healthy development of all youth through powerful communication and education on gender and orientation.
As a result of our work, lives have been saved, families have been reunited, and young people are able to feel safe in environments that welcome them. We initiate dialogue on the topics of gender and orientation for people who work with, care for, or serve young people and their families. We deliver groundbreaking, cutting edge education for youth and their families, for schools, universities, therapists, healthcare providers, religious communities and systems of care. We connect with communities across South Florida, the US and Latin America through videoconferencing and travel, and make our work available in Spanish as well.
Why We Exist
We aim to address the root causes of discrimination, harassment, and suicide by initiating authentic, purposeful dialogue and providing education on gender and orientation. Consider these statistics: 50% of bullying incidents in elementary and middle school are based on gender and orientation slurs. 43% of Miami-Dade students see or experience anti-gay physical violence in schools. 80% of youth harassed as gay in school identify as heterosexual. And 90% of school shootings involve boys taunted with anti-gay epithets.
People have traditionally addressed concerns related to these statistics as political or advocacy issues. But we see this as a safety and public health issue that needs to be addressed by the entire community.
- COMMUNICATION – Honoring and welcoming all people; listening to others for the difference they want to make, and speaking to the difference that they can make in the world to keep youth safe.
- CONTRIBUTION – A commitment to make a positive impact.
- EXCELLENCE – A commitment to continually inquire and search to expand knowledge and expertise on gender, orientation, communication, and community-based solutions.
- LEADERSHIP – Sharing our knowledge and experience of what works to create more leadership in the world.
- PERFORMANCE – A commitment to produce win/win results everywhere we go, so all people—no matter their personal viewpoints—are included in fulfilling a common purpose.