Back-to-School Basics

A note from Jacob Stastny, YESS Mental Health Clinician

School is tough, and it is only getting harder. This is far too evident in the work that I do with clients here in Hope Hall. Often times, kids are brought to my office with concerns related to school. These concerns are frequently viewed through the lens of behavior concerns, defiance, or laziness. Although these explanations are certainly present in some of our school-aged youth, oftentimes the real culprit of a child’s issues at school is anxiety. 

Anxiety in children can be difficult to detect, and it manifests in a number of different ways, especially at school. Frequently, anxiety in kids does not mirror how adults experience anxiety.

Here are some common ways anxiety manifests in school-aged children:

  • Inattention/restlessness

  • Attendance issues

  • Disruptive behavior

  • Trouble answering questions in class

  • Complaints of headache or nausea

  • Not turning in homework

  • Avoiding social situations

With this in mind, there are a number of ways parents can assist their anxious child.

1.   Build a good foundation: Ensure your child is getting enough sleep, is well fed, and is taking care of themselves. It's hard to cope when we are sleepy and hungry. Building in routines also creates predictability that often times eases kids feelings of stress.

2.   Communication: Ask your child what is worrying them, listen without judgment, have empathy, and normalize their worry and concern. In this, their big anxious feelings become a little smaller and less scary. It’s important that your kids know you are with them and support them.

3.   Problem solving vs reassurance: Oftentimes, children will seek reassurance to reduce their worry. Instead, build their resilience through actively problem solving with them. For example, ask "what are some ways we can handle this?" Keep in mind to do this with empathy and compassion.

4.   Pay attention to your behavior: Children take cues from their parents. Model positive coping skills, confidence, and problem solving when encountering stress in your own life.

Click here to learn more about the work me and my colleagues do with YESS' Hope Hall Counseling program and how we can best support you and your family.
Play It Forward

We are only SIX weeks away from our fall signature event, the YESS Human Foosball League Tournament presented by Space Simply - Cy Phillips .

During this one-of-a-kind event, teams of 6-10 people will battle it out on life-sized foosball courts. Gameplay resembles soccer, but much like their tabletop counterparts, players can only move side- to-side to score a goal. Teams must work together to move through elimination rounds and be named the 2019 HFL Champions. Fun costumes, a tailgating atmosphere, networking opportunities, and a chance to take home the HFL trophy are in store for participants. 

Proceeds from the event benefit YESS and the services we provide to youth and their families in our community. YESS currently touches the lives of 2,000 children per year and continues to expand to meet the growing needs of kids in Central Iowa.

Click here to learn more and register your team today before we sell out!
In-Kind Needs at YESS
Looking for a way to help the children at YESS this fall? We are currently in need of the following in-kind donations. Please email Jana Daisy to coordinate donation drives and delivery times.

  • NEW underwear for teens (adult sizes S-XXL), both men’s and women’s

  • NEW athletic socks for teens (adult sizes), both men’s and women’s

  • Feminine hygiene products

  • NEW bath towels and wash cloths

  • Ethnic hair care products (Cantu, Shea Moisture, ORS Olive Oil, etc.)

  • AM/FM radios (alarm clocks are most cost-effective)


  • Iowa Realty held a school supply drive to help the children of YESS prepare for going back to school. This will help our kids get off to a great start for the 2019-2020 school year. We appreciate your generosity!

  • A big thanks to the Polk County Board of Supervisors for providing YESS with a Community Betterment Grant, which will support our music and art therapies. Our expressive art therapies give our youth alternative ways to explore and create, while promoting emotional growth and healing.

  • Volunteers from Principal Financial Group came to YESS this week to work with the kids. The youth enjoyed getting creative with Spin Art, braiding bracelets, and making Perler bead creations. The youth loved the chance to focus on projects, and express their artistic sides. Thank you to our volunteers who spent their afternoons with us!

Team YESS is Hiring

When you join YESS, you aren't just taking a job, you're becoming part of a team. A team that is committed to making the community a better place by protecting children and empowering families.

Do you or someone you know want to make a difference in the community and help kids build brighter futures? We have many opportunities to join Team YESS!
918 SE 11th Street, Des Moines, IA 50309 | 515.282.9377 |