Let’s spotlight the second oldest program at YES, Youth Mentoring Program (YMP)!

Volunteers of this program establish one-on-one mentorship relationships with elementary and middle school youth in Humboldt County. Volunteers mentor youth for one year, and they often volunteer for multiple years in order to continue these mentorships. This experience is extremely valuable for both youth participants and YMP volunteers! YMP currently has seven volunteers and two directors, Diana Rodriguez and Andrea Torres, that mentor youth at Pacific Union Elementary School.

Diana Rodriguez was happy to reflect back on her experiences with YMP and shared a sweet story about the first time she met her buddy. When they first met, her buddy was having a rough morning and just wanted to have fun. She had Diana chase her all around the school, but eventually calmed down and they sat down to play in the grass. Diana’s buddy pulled up grass and they clumped it all into “grass pies” and pretended to eat them! It was a fun first meeting for them both and is a perfect example of the bonding that YMP volunteers and their buddies create together.


Youth Mentoring Program was established in 1969 under the name Big Brother, with many of the same goals that YMP still holds today. Since this time, name changes have included Big Brother Big Sister, Together, and Friends Together. There was even a spin-off of the program, Together in Sign, in which volunteers worked with youth that are deaf and hard of hearing.

Nearly 50 years, several name changes, and many mentorship relationships later, Youth Mentoring Program is still making positive impacts in Humboldt County!