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YSS Breaks Ground on Ember Recovery Campus

On Aug. 9, YSS held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new recovery campus, Ember. About 200 people attended the event, which was held at the campus site near Cambridge, Iowa.

When completed, the 50-acre campus will offer 70 beds for emergency shelter, crisis stabilization, and residential addiction treatment for adolescents and young adults. Ember will be a nature-based and trauma-informed center that facilitates hope, wellness, and healing.

“So many kids and families today are simply without hope. They are suffering in silence,” said Andrew Allen, President & CEO of YSS and an alumnus of YSS’s Residential Addiction Treatment program. “Ember creates hope. Ember creates opportunity. Ember puts kids first. Today, Iowa is putting kids first.”

The multi-building campus—featuring a main “hub,” cabins, and outdoor recreational spaces—will take a holistic approach to stability and recovery. Centrally located and close to other community services, Ember will complement YSS’s existing successful programs with facilities specifically designed with youth’s needs in mind.

“Ember,” the name of the new campus, represents a small glowing fragment of fire that can still be revived. It reminds families and individuals there is always hope; there is enough fire in their hearts to build a bright future.

“Youth will leave Ember on fire for life,” Allen said to the crowd.

The groundbreaking ceremony also featured the following speakers:

  • Governor Kim Reynolds
  • Senator Joni Ernst
  • Representative Randy Feenstra
  • Russell Wood, CEO of Central Iowa Community Services, which made a $10 million lead investment in the project
  • Marissa Eyanson, Division Administrator of Community Mental Health and Disability Services for the Iowa Department of Human Services
  • Dean Bowden, a major donor to Ember
  • Gary Palmer, President & CEO of Prairie Meadows, which awarded a $600,000 Legacy Grant to the project
  • Don Woodruff, President of Woodruff Construction
  • Drake Lohse, a recovery advocate and supporter of Ember

“Today, about 200 youth are able to access YSS’s intensive emergency shelter, crisis stabilization, and residential treatment of substance use disorder services. But when this campus opens—fully staffed and at 100% capacity—that number will more than triple to 700 and allow YSS to serve 3,500 individuals over five years,” Gov. Reynolds said.

Sen. Ernst told the audience Ember will help put youth on a better path. “I’m very excited to see what YSS will bring in the future and what these young men and women will accomplish,” Ernst said. “I know this will transform their lives—literally.”

Ember is a long-time dream for YSS, and was brought to life thanks to many generous donors and grants. YSS is collaborating on the project with architect RDG Planning & Design and general contractor Woodruff Construction.

Learn more about the campus project: www.yss.org/ember

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