Three decades of YES

Three decades of YES

Story By: LIZ FINNEGAN
10/5/2017


ISLIP TOWN—Since it was founded in 1987, Islip’s Youth Enrichment Services has been providing invaluable support to local youth from West Islip to Blue Point. On Wednesday, Oct. 18, they will celebrate all of their achievements at the “Back to the Future Gala” and will honor three volunteers who have helped to make their programs a huge success: Liz Mayott, Dr. Sylvia Diaz and Islip supervisor Angie Carpenter.

Over the decades, YES has served thousands of children and families through a variety of programs. YES executive director MaryAnn Pfeiffer has been with the organization for 27 years. “I like to think we help them to help themselves,” she said. 

Pfeiffer noted that over the years, the organization has grown thanks to a partnership with the town, which provided start-up funding, and from there, “it was an evolution of services,” she added. “We went from doing the ABC’s in babysitting, to now we are [providing] rehabilitation services, job [placement] to tackling hunger.” The organization depends on funding from the town, Suffolk County, New York State and donations.

Pfeiffer explained that a small core group that included Angie Carpenter spearheaded the formation of YES. Though initially focused on the west side of Islip Town, it eventually expanded east. “We now cover the entire Town of Islip,” Pfeiffer said, explaining there are poor children even in a middle-class population.

“Our communities are changing and so are the needs,” she said.

The services provided by YES are varied. They include supervised after-school and school-age childcare that is held in local elementary schools. “We heavily use school buildings,” said Pfeiffer. “We have a great relationship with all of our school districts.”

Several town senior citizen and recreational buildings are utilized as well, including 401 Town Hall West.

The services in schools include study groups, homework help, arts and crafts, recreational activities, health and wellness counseling and there are even guest speakers and field trips.

YES offers tutoring, mentoring, prevention workshops for substance abuse, bullying and violence, in addition to a variety of other counseling services that address behavioral and emotional issues. There are summer programs as well, including some for special-needs students.

One of the honorees, Dr. Diaz, is executive director of the Suffolk Community College Foundation. She has worked with YES students, helping them to get into college. “She’s leading the way for our Islip Town kids,” said Pfeiffer.

Islip resident and ardent volunteer, Liz Mayott, who has served on a YES committee, is described by Pfeiffer as “an unsung hero for so many organizations.”

Mayott said she was honored and humbled by the recognition. “No one knows what YES entails…and it’s all for the kids,” she said.

Carpenter is a founding member of YES and remains involved. She remarked, “It is absolutely thrilling for me, to watch the growth and development of Youth Enrichment Services over these last 30 years. Never, in all that time, has the sense of mission been diminished.... [they are] always there making a difference in the lives of our youth here in the Town of Islip. I’ve seen young people come to the program as participants, go on to be youth members of the board, board members YES employees, and so many going on to achieve professional successes in so many different venues... education, the corporate world, government, public safety... their successes are the community’s success. We are so very proud of each and every one of them.” 

For ticket information to this event, contact Carolyn Baez at 631-587-5172 ext. 330 or at carolynbaez@yesnews.net.