It is said, “A cord of three strands in not easily broken,” which is often interpreted as, “While two people are more productive than one, better yet, three people are stronger than two.” We as humans are not designed to go through life alone. You and I need each other. We all need community.
In recent years, isolation has become a common theme we have observed among our youth. Ironically, in a world that seems so highly connected via the internet and social media, the reality is today’s youth feel alone. They feel a personal disconnect from their family, peers, teachers and other adult influences.
At Just Say YES, our philosophy is, “A connected student is a protected student.” For more than 16 years, we have made it our mission to create life-changing connections with students of all ages, backgrounds and circumstances in order to help them achieve better and brighter futures. We do this via three-types of programming, (or in this case “strands”): high-impact student assemblies; Peer-to-Peer Mentoring; and adult influence education (staff development and parent programs).
Whether it is a classroom of 30 students or a gymnasium of 1,000, the Just Say YES assembly speakers have an incredible gift of meeting student’s right where they are in life. The speakers share their unique personal testimonies of overcoming adversity and achieving success, which leads students to think, “Their story is similar to mine. If they can overcome that, maybe I can, too.”
In the Just Say YES STARS Peer-to-Peer Mentoring program, upperclassmen are trained to mentor incoming freshmen, all whom are selected by campus administrators. This unique peer-to-peer model creates a safe place for students to share their own stories, while also holding one another accountable in making positive life choices. (https://cannabisbudcans.com/) Students quickly learn that they are not alone in their circumstances; that their peers are going through similar hardships both in the classroom and beyond. Connections and bonds begin to form, and each year without fail students say, “This is not just a program, we have become a family.”
As I reflect on the power of these programs, it has been incredible to witness student transformations from a life of emptiness and loneness, to one of connection, character and potential. Just Say YES programs are working in the lives of students, and we simply could not do it without YOU.
The relational connection begins with trust, and we are thankful for the trust you have placed in us to equip today’s youth to succeed. You, the Just Say YES staff, and the students we serve are also a chord of three strands that cannot be easily broken. Together, we can make a meaningful difference in the lives of students.
Grateful for you!
Founder & President