YES marks 45 years of employing Mesa youths

Youth Employment Service of the Harbor Area celebrated its 45th anniversary Wednesday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony outside its Costa Mesa headquarters.

Since 1970, the small nonprofit at 114 E. 19th St., housed in a home-like office, has provided job assistance, mentoring, counseling and other services to more than 65,000 youth, 77% of whom are considered low income or at risk for chronic adult unemployment.

Together, YES estimates their earnings total up to more than $16 million.

Wendy Weeks, YES' executive director, noted how the organization has grown significantly from its roots of helping area youth find one-time jobs — mowing lawns, walking dogs and the like — to full-time careers.

"I feel that we're a very lucky organization," she said. "The city of Costa Mesa and so many people have been very supportive of us since we opened. Having the ability to continue to serve the youth in this area is definitely something we feel very proud of."

Added Wendy Cullen, a YES board member: "Forty-five years for a nonprofit organization is very exciting, to see that we've been able to last and sustain that kind of credibility within our community."

YES has three employees and more than 80 volunteers available who help on a weekly basis or for special events.

YES is having its official 45th anniversary party, dubbed an Evening of Excellence, Nov. 5 at the Radisson hotel in Newport Beach. Tickets start at $135.

For more information, visit or call (949) 642-0474.