Eric Eisner LA Magazine

In 1998, at the invitation of the Richstone Family Center, Eric Eisner began working with academically promising children at Lennox Middle School in Lennox, CA, a small unincorporated area of Los Angeles County. He challenged them with his unique brand of language-focused learning and identified those who could excel in LA’s most competitive schools. Over time, he expanded his efforts, working with students from middle schools across Los Angeles, helping them gain access to education opportunities usually reserved for their more privileged peers. In 2010, YES became a stand-alone non-profit, expanding nationwide to include cohorts in New York, Chicago, and rural Appalachian North Carolina. In addition to educational enrichment, YES now provides far-reaching financial and social support to our scholars around the country.


YES identifies promising students from underserved communities and equips them with the resources, support, and academic skills required for success through high school, college, and career.


YES has an established track record for long-term holistic support services, beginning as early as elementary school and continuing through high school, university studies, internships, and career placement at prestigious businesses and institutions around the globe. Our programs meet the academic, socio-emotional, and cultural needs of our scholars at every milestone along their journey. Each phase of YES programming develops a set of core skills that we have found essential for our Scholars’ growth and success.


YES identifies underserved public middle school students that demonstrate intellectual curiosity, academic agility, and emotional maturity.


Twice weekly, scholars engage with a YES instructor in small group sessions during the school day to learn critical thinking, interpersonal, and communication skills essential for long-term success.


YES curates rigorous summer programming for 7th and 8th grade scholars to prepare them both academically and culturally for a rigorous high school experience and prevent summer backslide. Programs range from outdoors education and art history immersion to robotics and French language classes, with a focus on exploring new aspects of their cities and communities.


YES provides personalized support to our high school scholars, including academic counseling, tutoring, summer programs and internship opportunities, mentoring, test prep, and college guidance, as well as socio-emotional wellness and mental health resources. Summer programming for our high school scholars branches out even further. Students participate in robust summer STEM programming, including both our own in-house robotics course, led by older YES Scholars, and outside programs, such as the Apple-sponsored APP Camp in Asheville, NC, and the Advanced Space Academy at Space Camp USA. Students also take summer courses in STEM, the arts, and the humanities on college campuses around the country through programs like Duke TIP.


YES provides individualized assistance through the college admissions process, starting in 9th grade with the creation of a four-year college readiness plan. Students receive ACT/SAT prep, financial aid workshops, college tours, and assistance in accessing top scholarship opportunities. We help our scholars and families navigate applications, financial aid, and determining the best fit college for each student. Staff work with Scholars to help them leverage additional scholarships from programs and companies around the country.


While attending university, our Scholars are provided with career development and internship options, as well as personalized academic and career advising and graduate school preparation. YES helps scholars overcome additional financial barriers, providing resources to cover aid gaps for student tuition, housing, books, clothes, medical needs, life supplies, travel, workshops and internship support. Over the summer, YES provides resources for students to take advantage of transformative internship and travel opportunities around the world, in order to set them up for success after college.


YES facilitates internships, shadow opportunities and introductions to our network of professional supporters and partner institutions, businesses, and organizations - as well as to older YES mentors already in the workforce through our YES alumni network. We provide personal finance, resume, and career readiness workshops, and introduce scholars to industry leaders in law, media, medicine, engineering, and finance.