CARLSBAD — For the past 25 years, Youth Enrichment Services has been a safety net for students throughout North County and Carlsbad.
YES celebrated its 25 the anniversary in September and now the organization, which is part of the Carlsbad Unified School District’s wellness team, is partnering with Interfaith Community Services to help homeless students, according to Rosemary Eshelman, the district’s student services specialist.
Interfaith received a grant from the Carlsbad Charitable Foundation and a matching grant earlier this year and along with YES formed a program to address the students’ situations.
“When that grant came about … we can actually have a case manager at Carlsbad High School,” Eshelman said. “When a student comes through, if they need a bus pass or food, clothing or transportation or housing … we have somebody right on site to help them through that.”
YES was founded in 1993 by former San Diego Mayor Susan Golding, the Carlsbad Police Department, Carlsbad Unified School District, Lola’s Market and Deli, the Boys & Girls Club of Carlsbad and Join Hands Save Life, after a drive-by shooting killed a recent San Diego high school graduate.
Eshelman said the focus is to identify students struggling with drugs, gangs and mental illness, to name a few. Additionally, YES connects students with the community in a positive way, which then reduces the likelihood a student will become involved with negative behavior, she added.
“It’s a community collaborative that is a group of agencies that comes together,” Eshelman explained. “What this does is provide an opportunity to come together and network and find ways to connect youth.”
As for the future, she said one of the more recent challenges is the vaping epidemic spreading among teens throughout the city, region and country. Vaping is an electronic device that heats a liquid into vapor and simulates smoking.
She said through YES, the school year kicked off with a community clinic on tobacco control in all middle schools. All those grade levels were taught about the health consequences of vaping, what it does to the body and how tobacco companies are targeting youth.
Eshelman said through the efforts, students felt more knowledgeable about the issue and are less likely to engage with vaping.
Other challenges are teen suicide, mental health, anxiety and social media. To help address those issues, YES ties into Parent University, which trains and keeps parents up to date on the latest trends and issues.
In January, YES will launch a five-week program called “Parents are Prevention.”
“Those are the kinds of thing we hope to do in the future and collaborate with these different agencies,” she added. “The more you collaborate, the more you can go after funding when you have more agencies involved. It serves us better by being collaborative.”
For more about YES or use its services, contact Eshelman at email@example.com.
Steve Puterski covers Carlsbad and Vista. For tips or story ideas, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @StevePuterski.