Youth Encouragement Services (YES) has been a staple in the Napier-Sudekum neighborhood, which is just a couple of miles from the Cannery, for over 65 years. More recently, they have expanded into the south Nashville neighborhood of Woodbine.
Their mission is to enrich the lives of Nashville’s youth by providing opportunities that encourage them to reach their full potential spiritually, academically, socially, and physically through daily programming in a Christ-centered community. They typically operate many programs centered on kids and teens such as after school programs, mentoring, literacy programs, summer camps, athletics leagues, and more. It's always been their goal to provide a safe alternative to life on the streets for kids and teens in the community. If you are a part of our Cannery family, then you may remember when we partnered with them a couple years ago to help out with their Christmas Store.
Because of the recent COVID-19 crisis, they have had to shift some of their operations. They were unable to do summer programming — which resulted in fewer opportunities to see the kids and families that they work with. Throughout this time, YES continued to think creatively about how to go to the neighborhood if the neighborhood could no longer come to them. They listened to the needs of the families they regularly served — and they responded. Many of the kids in their programs rely on meals that they are served at school or during YES summer programming evening events. Because the kids weren’t in school or at YES programming, a big need for food has arisen for these families.
YES stepped up to the task and has been providing meals for their families since March. They have provided over 18,000 meals so far! YES has also been working with some of the parents who have been struggling to make ends meet by providing assistance with rent or bills. Even though they were not able to carry on with their regular programming, YES continues to creatively live into their calling to serve kids and families in these neighborhoods. A few weeks ago, our church was able to donate financially to help provide an entire month’s worth of continued physical relief to the neighborhood.
Now we have another opportunity to serve alongside YES! As the fall approaches,YES is planning to resume their programming. We asked how we could help out to prepare for the coming year, and they sent us a few ways we can respond as a church to support them in their work and help them prepare for a new season of programs.
SERVING IN PERSON WITH YES
On Sunday, September 13 and September 20 from 2:00pm-4:00pm, we have the opportunity to go to their Lindsley Avenue location to help prepare their facilities. They need help cleaning their facilities, painting, organizing, and cleaning out old items. We, as a church, can help support YES in their mission to continue to invest in and love the Napier neighborhood through serving and helping prepare their facilities so kids can join in programming on site.
At this time when we have been scattered and distant, this is a way that we can gather together again and worship communally through serving. With safety in mind, each shift will be limited to 25 people and we will split up even more upon arrival in smaller groups to be able to do multiple jobs at once. Participants will be required to wear masks when indoors or when 6 feet of distance cannot be kept outdoors between volunteers.
To sign up for a shift, please click the button below and choose a time slot. Tasks and roles will be further explained when we arrive. Because of current restrictions, once a shift is full, we will not be able to add more spots to it. If signing up with a spouse, significant other, friend, or your family, make sure that everyone fills out their own form so that we can best track and limit our numbers to 25.
If you are interested in getting more involved with YES and their programming during the year, you can head to their website to view their volunteer positions and needs.