Welcome to YESS Academy!

Dec 19 / YESS Institute
After more than 20 years of serving Denver's local communities, YESS Institute is excited to officially launch our newest endeavor: The YESS Academy. Welcome!

The YESS Academy represents the official learning center for the YESS Institute, a non-profit organization located in Denver, CO. Since its origin in 2001, YESS Institute has provided Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) programs for middle and high school students through for-credit classes.

YESS Academy provides programs focused on behavioral awareness and education for youth, combining SEL techniques into each virtual course. Our goal is to empower you, your students, and your community so that you can feel confident in the future leaders of our world. We aim to reduce the prevalence of substance misuse among youth, decrease negative health, social, and educational consequences associated with substance misuse.

Youth drug awareness & education is critical

YESS Academy is based in Colorado - the first state in the country to legalize medical and recreational Cannabis use. After years of research, we now know that the most effective adolescent Cannabis education depends on context, and programming should be designed based on the individual realities of a school.

Youth drug awareness and education is critical, now more than ever. The statistics don't lie: mis-use of substances is pervasive in our current world, and the statistics around youth drug use are alarming both at the national and state levels.

Check out the statistics on youth drug use for individuals ages of 12-17 years:
See References 1-4 for full details related to youth drug use statistics in the United States and Colorado.

Providing youth with accurate, up-to-date, and practical information around drug awareness better prepares them for the real world. Our course explains the basics:

What is Cannabis?
How do people use Cannabis?
How does Cannabis affect the brain?
What are other health effects of using Cannabis?
What is the purpose of medical marijuana?
Why are some states legalizing Cannabis use?

and much more.

Students of our Cannabis Awareness & Education curriculum (grades 5-8) participate in an interactive 9-level e-Learning curriculum where they learn about healthy choices & personal responsibility while exploring nature. All of our courses are gamified, meaning they are highly interactive. Most other programs of this nature are dense content presented in PDF or PowerPoint formats, which lack engagement and relatability for youth. We've taken our years of research and community experience to craft our courses to meet the needs and realities of our students. 
Coming soon are our e-Learning courses focused on educating students about vaping and opioids. Vaping (the act of inhaling and exhaling the aerosol, often referred to as vapor, which is produced by an e-cigarette or similar device) has become a widespread and normalized form of substance use in teens; about 1 in 5 high school students vape. Rates of opioid use have increased dramatically recently. Opioids are involved in the majority of preventable drug overdose deaths (77%) and were involved in approximately 50 000 deaths in 2019 alone. 
We can't wait to share our courses with you and provide the tools, training, and curricula to bring success to your school, organization, and students. To stay in the know about our course offerings, learn sensible information related to drug awareness, and hear from experts in the field, subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on social media: 
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YESS Academy is the product of collaboration between YESS Institute, RadSchools, and Denver Afterschool Alliance. We are grateful to our many community supporters and participants who have helped make our resources streamlined, effective, and available to you in multiple modalities.

YESS Institute


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1. National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics. 2022. https://drugabusestatistics.org/teen-drug-use/
2. Anne E. Casey Foundation. Kids Count Data Center. https://datacenter.kidscount.org/data/tables/101-child-population-by-age-group#detailed/1/any/false/1729/64,6/419,420
3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), National Surveys on Drug Use and Health. National Surveys on Drug Use and Health: 2018-2019. https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/reports/rpt32879/NSDUHsaeTotal2019/2019NSDUHsaeTotal.pdf
4. Colorado Substance Abuse Trend and Response Task Force. Annual Report. 2021. https://coag.gov/app/uploads/2020/12/2021-Annual-Report-Substance-Abuse-Trend-Response-Task-Force.pdf
5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Health Statistics: mortality data on CDC WONDER: provisional multiple cause of death data. Accessed January 5, 2022. https://wonder.cdc.gov/mcd.html 
6. Ramzi G. Salloum, Andy S. L. Tan, & Lindsay Thompson. What Parents Need to Know About Teen Vaping and What They Can Do About It. JAMA Pediatr. 2021;175(4):440. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2020.6689