According to Just Say Yes donor and youth advocate Dick Blaylock,
For 10 years, my wife Barbie and I have actively supported Just Say YES – Youth Equipped to Succeed – on North Texas Giving Day. The concept of having one day dedicated to raising funds for nonprofits in our community is incredible, and something we have enjoyed participating in over the years. I am honored to share with you why we say “YES” to youth through this campaign, and hope it will inspire those who also share a heart for kids in our community.
The Need — Each year, public schools become more strained for time and resources, while under immense pressure to perform academically, making it challenging to incorporate any sort of programming into the school day. If a child’s academics and social-emotional needs are disconnected, more harm than good is done, and it can lead to the risk behaviors we see too often reported in the news, including: bullying/cyberbullying, drinking and alcohol abuse, depression and suicide, teen dating violence, etc.
Why Just Say Yes — Just Say YES fills the social-emotional learning gap by providing K-12th grade programming to schools in North Texas. Through high-impact assemblies and peer-to-peer mentoring programs, Just Say YES creates life-changing connections with students of all ages, backgrounds and circumstances in order to help them achieve better and brighter futures.
Whether it is a classroom of 30 students or a gymnasium of 1,000, Just Say YES speakers have an incredible gift of meeting students right where they are in life. The speakers share their unique personal stories of achieving success by overcoming adversity (e.g. drugs, abusive families, homelessness and poverty), and can cover any topic specific to a school’s needs.
What truly stands out among the rest is the Just Say YES Peer-to-Peer Mentoring program, which is currently implemented at six DFW area high schools. Each school year, the Just Say YES team invests social, emotional and leadership support to 42 students per campus so that each student receives over 130 hours of engaging instruction. The students in the program are identified by administrators as “at-risk youth” with little-to-no connection with their peers or positive adult influences. By the end of the school year, participating students transform into confident campus leaders, become goal driven, and develop strong character traits that equip them to make right choices in peer pressure situations.
To have resources like Just Say YES accessible to our schools, programs that effectively equips students to succeed both in the classroom and in life, are vital to the future of our community. Investing in today’s youth is one of the most important things we can do in preparing the next generation, and I ask that you please consider saying YES to youth this Giving Day. Any size donation helps to further the Just Say YES mission of empowering today’s youth into becoming tomorrow’s leaders.
* Graphic/photo provided by Just Say YES
In ten years, Communities Foundation of Texas’ North Texas Giving Day has pumped more than $240 million into the North Texas community. In 2018, more than $48 million was raised through more than 157,000 gifts benefiting over 2,700 area nonprofits.
On Thursday, September 19, support Just Say YES by linking here and spreading the word. #NTxGivingDay