Youth Empowerment Squad providing laptops to AVID students

YES is proud to announce that we have created scholarships for underclassmen in the ​AVID program at Mission Hills High School, where we are donating 18 laptops to deserving and hardworking students in 2016.

AVID students nationwide fit into one or more of these criteria:

  • First person in family to go to a four-year university, or…
  • Member of an underserved group at universities, or…
  • Low socio-economic status, or…
  • Special circumstances. 

AVID Student Profile...

  • Students should have the potential and the desire to attend a four-year college.
  • They must have appropriate classroom behavior.
  • They must have a minimum GPA of 2.5.
  • They have regular attendance.
  • They have good work habits.
  • They have average test scores.*
  • They are willing to commit themselves to two hours of homework each night.
  • They are willing to enroll in a rigorous college preparatory sequence of courses and must attend summer school.

                   * AVID includes English Learners

YES Partners With Pacific Beach Buffalo Exchange

Buffalo Exchange is a different kind of clothing store: trendy and stylish consignment with a commitment to community.


Shoppers are encouraged to accept a token instead of a bag for purchases, and Buffalo Exchange donates five cents to a charity of the customer's choice. 

Through their Tokens for Bags® program, Buffalo Exchange has raised nearly $550,000 for thousands of local nonprofit organizations since 1994, while saving 10.9
million bags from polluting the environment. 


We are so excited to be the newest partner in this program and look forward to being able to help more underprivileged and foster teens in San Diego attend college!

PRESS RELEASE                                                              FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(click here for pdf of release)                                            June 1, 2016

Tim Johnson, CEO
Youth Empowerment Squad (a nonprofit charity)
(858) 733-2300

Local Charity Giving Free Laptops to Deserving Mission Hills High School Students 

San Marcos, CA – This Friday, June 3, at 12:00 in the computer lab at Mission Hills High School in San Marcos, eighteen students in the school’s AVID program will be given much needed help with brand new Chromebooks of their own by local non-profit charity, Youth Empowerment Squad (YES!).  

Maria is typical of the sophomores at Mission Hills High School in San Marcos, CA that will be awarded laptops on June 3rd.  Her parents never made it past middle school, she qualifies for Mission Hills’ free/reduced lunch program, and her family can’t afford a computer.  To complete her homework, Maria either has to walk to the local library after school where she gets less than an hour on a computer – if one is available, or she has to go to the school library very early in the morning and hope a computer is available.  Her goal is to go to either Stanford University or the University of San Francisco where she plans to major in architecture.  Without her own laptop it is becoming clear that it will be nearly impossible to maintain her 4.17 GPA throughout high school.  Without a high GPA, all of her volunteer work at a local elementary school and with AVID (as leader of their current events committee) will not be enough to help her get into the school of her dreams.  She needs a laptop.  

These exemplary students currently attempt to do hours of homework either very early in the morning at school, late after school, at friends’ or relatives’ houses, on their cell phones (if they have one) or on a shared household computer being used by many siblings and parents, making it very difficult to complete their homework and projects. 

Assistant Principal at Mission Hills High School, Amy Hrin, has seen the importance of having computer and internet access for AVID students.  “These AVID students are working very hard and many are achieving as much or more than many students who have total access to educational technology.  We are excited to see the great things they will accomplish with these laptops that the Youth Empowerment Squad is so generously giving to them.  Not only is this a fantastic recognition of their hard work, but it will also allow them to excel in their schoolwork.  Instead of spending several hours a day trying to find a computer they can use, they can now dedicate that extra time to the volunteer work and AP classes that each of the laptop-winning students participate in.” 

AVID (AVID stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination) knows that students from low income families without a college-going tradition can succeed in high school and graduate college ready - if they have the right supports in place. To achieve this, students need a suite of academic and social supports that are consistently available and that they can readily access.  AVID provides that.  AVID students fit into one or more of these criteria:
-  First person in family to go to a four-year university, or…
-  Member of an underserved group at universities, or…
-  Low socio-economic status, or…
-  Special circumstances.

The Youth Empowerment Squad (YES!), a dba of Disadvantaged Youth Alliance, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity, is dedicated to helping low income, foster youth, former foster youth, and other underprivileged students acquire the knowledge, skills, tools, funding, and confidence to be able to go to college and not only better their lives, but also the lives of generations to come.  To learn more visit


Assistant Principal, Amy Morris Hrin, congratulating these hard working students.

MHHS Assistant Principal Amy Morris Hrin, YES! CEO Tim Johnson,

MHHS AVID Director Jamie Yorba.

YES! couldn't have done it, and the students couldn't have succeeded, without Amy & Jamie

YES! CEO, Tim Johnson, awarding the winners their laptops, certificates, and a big "Congratulations! You deserved it!"


Pictures from our AVID laptop ceremony

Youth Empowerment Squad providing laptops to AVID students

June 3, 2016

The winning students enjoying the celebration - and, no doubt, anxious to get started writing papers on their new laptops!

The Barrel Room Fundraising Wrap-up

Thank you so much to The Barrel Room for holding a fundraiser for YES for National Foster Care Month.  We exceeded our goals and will be able to help many San Diego foster youth who have aged out of the system be able to get into and go to college.  

Thank you to Nate and the staff at the Barrel Room for going above and beyond and making the event a great success.  We couldn't have asked for a better group of people to work with.  And the food and drinks were awesome!  Go check them out - you'll love it.​

The Barrel Room Brunch, Lunch & Dinner Fundraiser

May 18 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

16765 Bernardo Center Dr #1, San Diego, CA 92128

The Barrel Room has graciously offered to donate 20% of all sales on May 18th to DYA in support of helping disadvantaged youth and foster youth be able to go to college.  We are very pleased to have the support of The Barrel Room, so we would like as many people as possible to come out and have a meal at The Barrel Room on Sunday May 18!

If you don't want to fight the Mother's Day crowds this year, we suggest taking Mom to brunch at The Barrel Room on May 18th.  It is also a great place for a romantic brunch, lunch or dinner with your significant other.  Or just come on out and celebrate with us and support disadvantaged youth and foster kids in San Diego!


Post Open House

Youth Empowerment Squad Thanks Community for Successful Event


YES is celebrating a fantastic turnout at its Open House this past Saturday and was successful in sharing its mission to aid foster and disadvantaged youth in San Diego with guidance for career counseling, college admissions, and financial aid in order to create a brighter future for themselves and generations to come. Tim Johnson, CEO, presented and discussed the tragic reality of foster youth in San Diego: only half of these youth will graduate from high school, fewer than 3% will obtain a college degree.  66% will be unemployed, homeless or end up in jail by the time they turn 19 years old. YES is dedicated to creating a brighter future for this under-served and disproportionately impoverished group of children.

YES Open House

17762 Old Winery Way, Poway, CA 92064

3:30-5:30 pm


Please join us on the 22nd for food, wine and good conversation about how to help foster youth in San Diego reach higher and find success through education.


This year in San Diego, 300 foster children will “age out” of the foster care system.  Only half of these youth will graduate from high school; fewer than 10 will obtain a college degree. 150 will be unemployed and 75 will end up in jail. YES is dedicated to creating a brighter future for this underserved and disproportionately impoverished group of children and is reaching out to the community for support in this mission. Tim Johnson, CEO, will present and discuss opportunities for community involvement.


“Education is the best tool for breaking the cycle of poverty and the Youth Empowerment Squad is dedicated to giving foster youth the opportunity to pursue
success to the benefit of themselves and their community,“ says Tim Johnson, CEO of YES.  Children in the foster care system frequently lack support networks and do not view college as a realistic option.  They need and deserve the encouragement to believe college is within their reach and the guidance to make higher education a reality.