Dozens of alumni and current youth from Youth Emergency Services celebrated forty years of programs Sunday.
The organization, also called YES, provides transitional living and other services to homeless and at-risk youth.
"You learn different life skills, cooking, cleaning, managing your money, they talk about sex they talk about STDs--you name it they talk about it," says Cambria Kelley, an alumni who lived in the transitional living program for a year.
The transitional living program is also strict. Youth have a curfew, cannot have a cell phone, and cannot bring visitors to their apartments.
Kelley arrived at YES after she and her mother decided they could no longer live together.
"My mom and I, we just didn't get along--we clashed, arguing fighting, and that was all through my high school life. She was fed up with it and decided that it was time for other alternatives," says Kelley.
Initially, Kelley says she resisted the rules and the guidance of YES employees, and then realized that she needed to change her life.
"I probably wouldn't be where I am today--I'd probably be struggling a lot more. I probably wouldn't have a better relationship with my mom. Without YES, I don't know where I'd be," says Kelley through tears.
Kelley is now living with her mother, and in college studying social work.
Current youth at the celebration say stories like Kelley's inspire them. Matthew Glover has been in and out of group homes, shelters and trouble for years, but he says he believes he can change.
"Being able to see people who have the same problems as me, same issues, same things going on in life and are able to rise above their issues and actually accomplish and succeed--it definitely inspires me," says Glover.