YSS Let’s Talk!

YSS Let’s Talk! Facebook Live Series airs every Thursday at 7:00 p.m. on @weareYSS Facebook page.

With a viral pandemic gripping our communities, YSS Let’s Talk! was started April 2020 to serve as a valuable resource to address community needs.

Please join us each week to learn about current issues related to:
• Prevention
• Treatment
• Transition
• Child Welfare

To give to the YSS Covid fund, go to www.yss.org/covid19fund


YSS Let’s Talk! and Mel in the Morning

Mel in the Morning, on KASI News Talk 1430, has long supported the YSS mission. Every Wednesday morning at 7:15 a.m., Mel welcomes a guest from YSS, usually to discuss the following day’s YSS Let’s Talk! topic.

We appreciate all the support Mel has given YSS over the years!

Click here to listen Live! and to past episodes of Mel in the Morning

Rusty Johnson introduces YSS Let’s Talk! on Mel in the Morning!


YSS Update

Blake Willadsen, IHYC Development Coordinator, Kalli Kennel, Specialized Prevention Services Coordinator, and Karen Wickert,
YSS Foundation Board of Trustees, will join Rusty Johnson, YSS Prevention Specialist.
Our focus will be on YSS holiday giving. We will discuss how providing holiday gifts to the hundreds of youth we serve at YSS shows them support over the holiday season.
For more information on YSS holiday giving go to www.yss.org/holidaygiving2020

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YSS Treatment

Samantha Kemp Carlin, MS, LMHC, NNCC, and YSS Mental Health Therapist, will join Rusty Johnson, YSS Prevention Specialist.

Our focus will be on healing with superheroes! The superheroes from books, TV, and movies can be more than just cool characters. We’ll talk about how connecting with our favorite characters can be a catalyst for personal growth.


YSS Prevention

Ryan Doyle, YSS Prevention Specialist and Coordinator for YSS Substance Abuse Prevention programs, will join Rusty Johnson, YSS Prevention Specialist.

Our focus will be on substance abuse and Red Ribbon Week. Youth face stresses and pressures all the time, but one of the most dangerous pressures that they can feel are those related to substance abuse. What can seem like a fun way to spend some free time or enjoy a party can actually lead them to a lifetime of addiction.


YSS Update

Andrew Allen, YSS president and CEO, David Hicks, YSS of Marshall County Community Based Center Director, and Chief Michael Tupper, Marshalltown Chief of Police will be Talking.

Our focus will be on the partnership between YSS of Marshall County and The Marshalltown Police Department. We plan to partner YSS social workers within their department to engage with the community in situations where a human service provider might be more appropriate than law enforcement contact.


YSS Prevention

Taylor Nuehring, YSS Prevention Specialist will join Rusty Johnson, YSS Prevention Specialist.

Our focus will be on Talk-tober?
In the times of corona-virus we are constantly talking with our youth about how they can stay healthy at school, but do we talk about their sexual health? In this time of social distancing, we cannot forget about sexual health!


YSS Transition

Elizabeth Patten, YSS IHYC Youth Opportunity Center Program Manager,  andMichael Davis, YSS Rapid YSS Advocacy Program Coordinator, will join Rusty Johnson, YSS Prevention Specialist.

Our focus will be on the Meal Program is based out of the IHYC Youth Opportunity Center.

View slides from the presentation.


YSS Prevention

Kalli-Ann Kennel, YSS Specialized Prevention Services Coordinator will join Rusty Johnson, YSS Prevention Specialist.

Our focus will be on YSS Impact Teen Club is a youth-driven program where participants are valued, develop positive relationships, and demonstrate social responsibility. We will focus on how the program equips teens with resources and tools to manage everyday life, as well as adjusting to social and emotional changes in the midst of COVID-19.


YSS Child Welfare

Kelli Noveshen, YSS Advocacy Program Coordinator, Emily Rebollozo, YSS Child Welfare Emergency Services Program Director, and Sarah Wiedenhoeft, YSS Family Connections Coordinator will join Rusty Johnson, YSS Prevention Specialist.

September 14-18 was Child Welfare Services Workforce Appreciation Week!
We will focus on various services and programs while highlighting the YSS champions and all their hard work supporting families and kids involved with the Iowa Child Welfare Services system.


YSS Treatment

Sarah Zollar, YSS Residential Clinical Coordinator will join Rusty Johnson, YSS Prevention Specialist.

Our focus will be on National Recovery Month. September has been designated as National Recovery Month, where those who are in recovery from substance use or managing mental health concerns are honored and celebrated.


YSS Treatment

Geri Derner, YSS IHS Program Coordinator and Julie Saxton, Mental Health Advocate for the City of Ames will join Rusty Johnson, YSS Prevention Specialist.

Our focus will be on Mental Health and the Story Co. Mental Health Expo. It is a community event providing information and community resources to better understand and manage mental health issue, stress and substance abuse.


YSS Update

YSS CEO & President Andrew Allen will join Rusty Johnson, YSS Prevention Specialist.
YSS CEO Update: Tune in for the latest from YSS and some interviews of some dedicated volunteer leadership who champion the YSS mission.


YSS Prevention

Peggy Ragner, YSS Family Development and Self-Sufficiency Program Coordinator and Sadie Bohr, YSS Health Futures and Nest Programs Coordinator will join Rusty Johnson, YSS Prevention Specialist.

Our focus will be on the Family Development and Self-Sufficiency, Healthy Futures, and Nest programs that empower and nurture families toward economic and emotional self-sufficiency, and provide pregnancy, infant care, and parenting education.

View slides from the presentation.


YSS Reggie’s Sleepout at Home

Toby O’Berry, YSS IHYC Community Based Center Director and Blake Willadson, YSS IHYC Development Coordinator will join Rusty Johnson, YSS Prevention Specialist.


YSS Transition

Kate Polush, YSS Transitional Housing Program Director and Kevin Ludwig, YSS Rapid Rehousing Youth Advocate, will join Rusty Johnson, YSS Prevention Specialist.

Our focus will be on Rapid Rehousing. Rapid Rehousing is a program that helps get participants into an apartment that’s affordable, having their name on the lease, and for that year regular monthly, if not weekly, case management is provided to help the participant not go back to homelessness.

View slides from the presentation.


YSS Treatment

Samantha Kemp Carlin, MSms, LMHC, NCC, YSS Mental Health Therapist will join Rusty Johnson, YSS Prevention Specialist.

Our focus will be Resilience: Adapting & Coping with Stress The challenges we are facing in these uncertain times can be stressful and overwhelming. We will discuss ways to cope with stressors and how to “bounce back” from difficult experiences.


YSS Child Welfare

YSS offers a variety of emergency services to youth and their families, providing 24/7 assistance to promote family safety and well-being. This array of services assists children who are part of the child welfare system, as well as those who are community-based with no system involvement.

View slides from the presentation.


YSS Prevention

John Rochford, YSS Prevention Specialist will join Rusty Johnson, YSS Prevention Specialist.

Our focus will be Tobacco use, mainly through vaping, is on the rise in teens and young adults and schools have struggled to provide much needed education about the real dangers of vaping. Fueling concerns is the threat of COVID-19 and how it impacts the lungs, particularly those of regular tobacco users.

View slides from the presentation.


YSS Transition

Michael Hammond, YSS PSERP Advocate and Kelli Noveshen, YSS Advocacy Program, Coordinator will join Rusty Johnson, YSS Prevention Specialist.

Our focus will be about young adults in Post-secondary Education Retention Program (PSERP), receive guidance and support in navigating higher education systems. COVID-19 resulted in additional challenges for the youth in our program as they have fewer at-home resources to fall back on.

Post-secondary Education Retention Program (PSERP), a program that assists young adults (ages 18-25) in successfully completing their post-secondary education goals. This includes an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, or certificate of completion from a trade program.

For information on Post-secondary Education Retention Program (PSERP) go to www.yss.org/program/post-secondary-education-retention-program-pserp/

View slides from the presentation.


YSS Reggie’s Sleepout

Blake Willadsen, YSS IHYC Development Coordinator will join Rusty Johnson, YSS Prevention Specialist.

The focus will be on the new format of Reggie’s Sleepout and how we have changed the event because of COVID-19.

View slides from the presentation.


YSS Treatment

Youth are experiencing an increase in substance use, especially due to some of the circumstances surrounding Covid-19. Now more than ever, there are adolescents who need treatment and recovery services.

Throughout Covid-19, YSS has continued to offer Adolescent Addiction adn Recovery Treatment in both Ames and Mason City (for youth ages 12-18). Andrew Allen, President and CEO of YSS, is an alumni of this program and credits it for saving his life.

In this YSS Let’s Talk!, Andrew along with Timothy Martinez, YSS Lead Youth Recovery Specialist, will share insights about the community need for their program, their personal experiences, and specifically what components of treatment help make it successful. The conversation is moderated by host Rusty Johnson, YSS Prevention Specialist. will join Rusty Johnson, YSS Prevention Specialist.

For information on our Residential Adolescent Addiction Treatment Program go to www.yss.org/programs/addiction

View slides from the presentation.


YSS Prevention

Ruth Buckels, YSS Community Prevention Program Manager will join Rusty Johnson, YSS Prevention Specialist.

Our focus will be Human trafficking and Prevention. Many Americans view human trafficking as a problem faced by the global community, but no community is free from the effects of human trafficking, even in Iowa. While human trafficking can involve individuals being moved across cities and states, many victims are sold in their homes, school or community.

For information about Human Trafficking go to www.yss.org/program/teens-against-human-trafficking/

View slides from the presentation.


YSS Treatment & Child Welfare

Shanda Hansen, YSS Francis Lauer Community-Based Center Director, Nicolas Determann, YSS Francis Lauer CWES Program Manager, and Dr. Jen Hansen, YSS Francis Lauer and YSS of Hamilton County Clinical Coordinator will join Rusty Johnson, YSS Prevention Specialist.

Our focus will be on the Crisis Stabilization Program, which is a partnership between YSS Francis Lauer’s Child Welfare Emergency Services (CWES) Shelter and Outpatient Behavioral Health Clinic. The program provides short-term interventions and support for families and youth (ages 12 to 18) who are non-system involved (no formal involvement with DHS or JCS), not currently suicidal or homicidal, and are experiencing a crisis.

For more information about the YSS Francis Lauer services go to www.yss.org/locations/francis-lauer

View slides from the presentation.


YSS Transition

Jaime Yowler, IHYC Emergency Bed Program Coordinator and Elizabeth Patten, IHYC Youth Opportunity Center Program Manager will join Rusty Johnson, YSS Prevention Specialist.

Our focus will be on the Youth Opportunity Center at IHYC in Des Moines. It serves as a hub for basic needs for youth experiencing homelessness. We will also discuss how COVID-19 is affecting the Youth Opportunity Center.

For more information about the Youth Opportunity Center and IHYC, go to www.yss.org/locations/iowa-homeless-youth-centers

View slides from the presentation.


YSS Treatment

Geri Derner, YSS IHS Program Coordinator, Nicole Clay, YSS IHS Care Specialist, Marissa Spoo, YSS IHS Care Specialist will join Rusty Johnson, YSS Prevention Specialist.

Integrated Health Services (IHS): Through care coordination, the IHS program connects families with resources to help their child be successful at home, school, and in the community. Families are partnered with a team of professionals to ensure their child is receiving the necessary care for their physical, behavioral, and mental health needs.

For more information about IHS, go to www.yss.org/program/yss-family-counseling-clinic

View slides from the presentation.


YSS Prevention

Terri Bailey, YSS Council Facilitator, Taylor Hardin, YSS Statewide Coordinator, Amaris Albers, AMP youth, and Amaris Albers, AMP youth, will join Rusty Johnson, YSS Prevention Specialist.

AMP involves young people ages 13-23 as advocates for themselves & others in child welfare, who have lived in an out of home placement (shelter, treatment, kinship, guardianship, foster/adopted). AMP teaches life skills that youth needs to become healthy independent young adults. AMP councils offer peer-to-peer understanding, support, encouragement, service learning projects and leadership opportunities. AMP members educate legislators, foster/adoptive parents, juvenile court, child welfare professionals and the public about foster care and adoption from a youth perspective.

View slides from the presentation.


YSS Child Welfare

Bambi Schrader, YSS Family Connections Recruitment and Engagement Manager, Foster Care/Adoption, will join Rusty Johnson, YSS Prevention Specialist. Every year thousands of Iowa kids are placed in foster care. Let’s talk about what you can do to support foster kids and parents and how you can take the next step and become a foster parent yourself.

View slides from the presentation.


YSS Personal Focus

Featuring Sonya Heitshusen, WHO TV Channel 13 News

YSS focuses on positive mental health, even in these challenging times. Coping skills are important for all of us in these unprecedented times, but what if your role was reporting the news? Sonya Heitshusen anchors and reports daily on WHO Channel 13 news broadcast. This personal conversation will focus on what it is like to be at the front lines of delivering the latest Covid-19 updates, how she handles day-to-day, and what she has experienced in community spirit.

View slides from the presentation.


YSS Transition – Iowa Aftercare Services Network

When young people age out of the foster care system at eighteen years old, they lose resources previously provided to them. This means many youth end up in very difficult situations, whether lack of adequate housing or an inability to obtain funds.

YSS saw this need and partnered with the Iowa Aftercare Services Network in 2002 in order to help these young people with this difficult transition. This program takes in young people aged 18-23 and helps them with education, employment, housing, life skills, and much more.

In this YSS Let’s Talk!, Rusty Johnson, YSS Prevention Specialist, Kelli Noveshen, YSS Advocacy Program Coordinator, Darcy Anderson, Lead Case Manager, Aftercare, and Elmer, Aftercare participant, discuss how YSS got involved with this program, how this program impacts young people in need, and how YOU can help young people in need! Tune in to hear Elmer share his first-hand experience of being a part of this Aftercare program!

View slides from the presentation.


YSS Treatment

Samantha Kemp Carlin, MS, LMHC, NNCC, YSS Mental Health Therapist

Her focus will be on the mental health impact of the COVID-19 crisis on people of all ages. For YSS updates on YSS and COVID-19, please go to www.yss.org/covid19. If you would like to give to our COVID-19 Fund go to www.yss.org/covid19fund.

If you would like more information about Telehealth Counseling, please go to www.yss.org/telehealth.

View slides from the presentation.


YSS Prevention

Youth are becoming exposed to sexual information at an increasingly young age through many different sources, whether it be the TV screen and the playground. Unfortunately, this information is not often medically based, accurate, and/or neutral.

As an organization, YSS is committed to dispelling these misconceptions regarding sexual health. We provide a variety of programming, such as our Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention program, to encourage youth to be informed about their sexuality.

In this YSS Let’s Talk!, Rusty Johnson, YSS Prevention Specialist, hosts Tina Palmer, Iowa Department of Public Health Community Health Consultant, and Lora Kracht, Community Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Manager. Together, the triad discusses various ways youth can gain education regarding sexual health and how adults can comfortably disperse accurate information regarding such topics. They emphasize the importance of open communication, creating a supportive environment, and taking advantage of available reliable resources.

View slides from the presentation


YSS Let’s Talk Launch

Andrew Allen, President & CEO of YSS gives an overview of the programs and services YSS offers, and shares his personal story, giving credit to YSS for saving his life.