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YSS Selected as Inaugural Charity by Gov. Kim Reynolds

YSS was one of three Iowa nonprofit organizations selected to be part of Gov. Kim Reynolds’ inauguration and receive proceeds from the Inaugural Committee.

On Jan. 13, YSS displayed a table at the Capitol Open House and Ceremony of Giving in the Iowa State Capitol rotunda to share information with guests. During the ceremony, President & CEO Andrew Allen gave a speech, where he shared his personal story and talked about the importance of YSS’s mission.

Allen pointed to the rise in youth mental health needs, alarming rates of suicide ideation among teenagers, and the increase in substance use to self-medicate as evidence that YSS’s services are needed now more than ever.

“The weight of this work—at times—is overwhelming,” Allen said. “Yet, we maintain hope. Treatment works, and recovery is possible.”

Allen talked about a “punk kid” who was addicted to drugs and alcohol, arrested for felonies on his 10th birthday, and expelled from school. He was given treatment instead of detention—and it worked. “I stand here today as said punk kid,” Allen said to the audience, “to share a message of hope, leading the organization I credit with saving my life.”

Allen also talked about the governor’s role in creating Iowa’s first comprehensive children’s behavioral health system, launching a public awareness campaign on the harmful effects of fentanyl, and supporting YSS’s new Ember Recovery Campus.

Currently under construction, Ember is a 50-acre, nature-based recovery center that will provide residential addiction treatment, crisis stabilization, and emergency shelter for Iowa’s youth. In 2022, Reynolds awarded $3 million to the campus project from the federal American Rescue Plan Act.

“Last year, we broke ground on what may be the largest investment in children’s behavioral health in a generation—Ember Recovery Campus,” Allen said. “And while this is tough work, I could not be more encouraged by the support from the state of Iowa.”

In her remarks, Reynolds mentioned her visit to the Ember site with youth from YSS’s residential addiction treatment program last year.

“I got to see where this amazing facility is going to be and just see the hope and the light it will bring,” she said to the audience. Turning to Allen, Reynolds added, “I love working with you, thinking of ways we can continue serving these kids and give them every single opportunity to be successful in this great state. So thank you.”

Learn more about Ember Recovery Campus.

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