Birdies Fore Love Impact: Youth Empowerment and Support Services
Since the Birdies Fore Love program started over 10 years ago, RSM has supported hundreds of charities in local communities around the United States and Canada, with the grand total of donations amounting to more than $17 million. Read about one of these deserving charitable organizations below to better understand the impact Birdies Fore Love has on the communities where RSM’s people live and work.
Youth Empowerment & Support Services (YESS) opened its doors over 35 years ago to help fill a gap – the two-year gap between the ages of 16 and 18 when there are minimal resources available to teens. Until the age of 16, youth in crisis could access Child and Family Services. After they turned eighteen, the adult support systems opened up to them. But what about those two important years in between? YESS wanted to target that gap and provide immediate and low-barrier shelter, temporary housing and individualized wraparound support for youth ages 15-24.
YESS focuses on working collaboratively with youth-supporting partners on prevention and diversion out of homelessness, and ultimately aims to walk beside traumatized youth on their journey toward healing and appropriate community integration.
Andrea Ferguson, community engagement officer with YESS, said that "the five-year goal for YESS is to research, develop and implement youth trauma programming within our own organization and to create a scalable, repeatable programming model to sit within the system to end youth homelessness."
Enter RSM's passion for stewardship. The RSM Edmonton office chose to support YESS in 2019 through various programs—Dollars for Doers, Volunteer Week and the Birdies Fore Love office competition. In 2019, RSM donated over $13,000 to YESS between Birdies Fore Love and Dollars for Doers. Ferguson said these funds have had a significant impact on the organization. "It currently costs approximately $6,500 to serve one youth at YESS for one year. Compared to the over $100,000 per year it costs to serve one entrenched and addicted homeless adult, preventing youth homelessness is both a prudent investment and the right approach to ending the cycle of homelessness.
"Birdies Fore Love is such a powerful way to support charities such as YESS by incorporating fun activities that all can participate in," Andrea continued. "By supporting Birdies Fore Love, you are investing in the youth of Edmonton."
RSM also supported YESS during the 2019 annual Volunteer Week when volunteers participated in fundraising activities at a Def Leppard concert that benefitted YESS, followed by an afternoon of volunteering at two different YESS locations. RSM in Edmonton also organizes creative events throughout the year in support of Dollars for Doers, extending our firm's support and impact for YESS.
"RSM has been such a generous and amazing partner to work with over the past year," Andrea noted. "RSM's enthusiasm to support a local charity has been so powerful both from a volunteer standpoint as well as from their Birdies Fore Love efforts. The large team of volunteers that spent hours to help landscape two of our YESS locations resulted in such a beautiful transformation. We could not have done it without the help of RSM! And Birdies Fore Love really tapped into the creativity of the Edmonton team by having such amazing and fun fundraising events for the team to enjoy.
"From all of us at YESS, and especially on behalf of our youth, a big thank you to the RSM team in Edmonton. We are so grateful and fortunate to have you as part of the YESS community."