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YSS of Marshall County Celebrates 40 Years

This year, YSS of Marshall County celebrates 40 years of establishment. In the mid 1970s, YSS assisted Marshall County in opening its own emergency youth shelter, which was modeled after the Ames Shelter House program.

Unfortunately, with low funding the program closed after a few years. With the loss of the shelter, YSS stepped in to help assist with runaways in the early 1980s. In 1983, YSS opened a site in downtown Marshalltown with a 24-hour hotline and a full-time counselor to work with runaways.

As YSS of Marshall County celebrated its 35th Anniversary in 2018, a tornado severely damaged the current YSS office building in downtown Marshalltown. The YSS of Marshall County staff were invited to immediately relocate to the basement of the Marshalltown Police Department.

“The tornado changed the trajectory of our center. It required us to start over and re-think how we’ll assist our community at its highest need as hundreds were homeless,” says YSS of Marshall County Director, David Hicks.

A brand-new combination police and fire department building was being built, so David submitted a $35.00 bid to purchase the soon-to-be vacant police department building at 22 N. Center Street. By a near unanimous majority vote, the Marshalltown City Council approved the offer. In 2019, they held a successful $130,000 capital campaign to remodel the facility.

“A tornado destroying our office couldn’t stop us. We grew a lot stronger and much more resilient because of it. You can’t defeat someone who won’t quit,” says David.

As of 2023, YSS of Marshall County provides mental health therapy, foster care support, supportive housing programs, and more for youth. Equine therapy is also offered at YSS of Marshall County and is the only YSS location that provides this service.

YSS of Marshall County partnered with the Marshalltown Police Department to launch a community outreach program called MPACT. The program dispatches social workers to accompany police officers on calls involving mental illness, family conflict, substance use, and behavioral situations.

“Hard work, loyalty, and diligence have been the essential pieces of our center’s longevity and success. It’s been my life’s work to steward a center that YSS and Marshalltown can be proud of,” says David.

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