About YES

The core of the YES program is experiential learning. Nine of the 18 credits in our program are community-based courses, learning by reflecting on what you are doing, with others, in the field.

If you are interested in any of the following:

  • hands-on experience
  • giving back
  • making change
  • urban communities
  • youth empowerment
  • organizing and leadership
  • education as a vehicle for social change
  • impacts of classism and racism on people, institutions and communities

Then you should contact YES Program Coordinator Dr. Hannah Ashley about enrolling in the minor.

What are the benefits of the YES Minor?

Students interested in careers in public policy, social work, government, psychology, language and literacy, education/teaching, sociology, criminal justice and more will benefit from the connections (it's who you know, right?), the real-life experience, and the additional skills and knowledge you will have, verified by having this minor on your transcript. School districts want teachers who are experienced and understand diversity and local context. Non-profits are looking for creative and critical thinkers who have had real-life leadership experience. Businesses, such as banks and real estate agencies, want to hire employees who can work with members of the community.

A YES Minor will make your graduate school application - whether in business, law, medicine, psychology, history or any other discipline or professional program - stand out.

The YES minor fits into many courses of study, including but not limited to students in Education, Social Work, Psychology, Geography and Urban Studies, Political Science, and more. Students in Liberal Studies may be interested in the YES program of study as one of their two required minors.

Cross-disciplinary and strength-based approaches

A strength-based approach means that our projects are collaborations that focus on the assets and strengths of urban communities and youth.

Our cross-disciplinary minor means that we get to think together about social problems from different perspectives, and that you will be exposed to students and faculty from outside your major with new ideas, backgrounds, and skills. See our program for details.

Brief History of Community Engagement

Young people are at the forefront of social change in the United States and elsewhere, now and for a long time. Community-engaged, hands-on learning to transform where we live is a proven effective student learning practice at universities. Community engagement emerged as an academic movement in the 1960’s and grew in strength throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s, yet full academic programs based on this type of meaningful, community-based learning are rare. Even fewer are focused on a strength-based, interdisciplinary approach to understanding urban environments and the youth who grow up in them. A student may identify as one such youth or might be an individual interested in seeing society’s problems through a similar lens.