Our History

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

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

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