Our History

Celebrating Over 40 Years of Healing Families. Changing Lives. Every Day.


Today:
As the most comprehensive and largest youth shelter in the state of Iowa, YESS continues to be recognized as a leader for addressing issues and creating solutions related to children's welfare

2015: Construction on the Don & Margo Blumenthal Variety – the Children’s Charity Youth Campus is completed in early spring, increasing the agency’s licensed bed capacity from 60 to 92. The expansion also includes a library, new classrooms, dedicated space for music, art, and play therapy, and various meeting spaces.

2013: The agency begins operation of Integrated Care Connections, a program designed to provide care coordination for families; YESS announces a $4.2 million capital campaign to expand the emergency shelter from 60 licensed beds to 92 by 2017

2012:
Hope Hall Clinical Connections opens to provide mental health counseling and therapy services for children in the shelter and on an outpatient basis

2011: Better Business Bureau honors YESS with the Business of Integrity Award; Agency's state contract for Child Welfare Emergency Services nearly doubles

2010: YESS receives Council on Accreditation (COA) designation; Agency records $3 million in annual revenue

2008: Access YESS opens as the first point of contact for children and families in need of care and support; YESS Duck Derby becomes the agency's signature fundraising event, raising nearly $150,000 in its first year

2007: Agency receives a marketing makeover award, initiating an agency-wide rebranding effort

2005: YESS receives $1 million bequest from the Myron Blank estate

1999: Blumenthal Crisis Nursery opens, enabling YESS to serve all children, newborn through age 17

1996: Following a successful $2.75 million capital campaign, the agency relocates to its current facility, The Steven N. Blank Variety Club Youth Center

1994: With only 20 emergency shelter beds, the agency is operating at capacity, and there is a waiting list for services

1989: YESS receives United Way agency membership status

1987: Safe Place outreach is put in place as a program to connect children from the community to agency services

1985: YESS relocates to Hawthorn Hill, expanding services to 15 beds for teens

1984: Agency changes its name to Youth Emergency Services & Shelter of Iowa (YESS)

1978: Emergency shelter opens near Drake University within two houses donated by Don & Margo Blumenthal

1973: Community leaders establish the Iowa Runaway Service, a drop-in center for teens at the downtown YMCA