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YCS 20th Anniversary Celebration

YCS held its 20th anniversary celebration on Thursday, April 28, 2011 

Held at the Sheraton Palo Alto Hotel, the luncheon included Palo Alto Mayor Sid Espinosa as Master of Ceremonies, with keynote speaker Professor William Damon discussing “Purpose and Positive Youth Development.” Professor Damon has written 18 books on education and human development, and is the Director of the Stanford Center on Adolescence and a Professor of Education at Stanford University. 

The event also included a video of YCS youth (, who discussed what they have gained from being a part of the organization and what they liked about it. Table centerpieces were made by students in YCS Fellows programs, representing service as the gateway to a garden of positive values, skills, experiences and relationships. 

YCS Executive Director Leif Erickson spoke about the contributions these participating youth have made in their local community, noting, “The story of YCS demonstrates to our young people every day that they are not alone – that they are surrounded in good will and mutual respect in a human network of people of all ages – by educators, parents, neighbors and friends like all of you.” 

More than 175 YCS donors, government and community partners, and youth parents attended the event. Notably, representatives for California State Senator Joe Simitian (District 11), California State Assemblymember Rich Gordon (District 21), and Santa Clara County Supervisor Liz Kniss (District 5) were on hand. Representatives from the Palo Alto Unified School District, the participating schools and City Council members also attended.  

The event, first of its kind hosted by YCS, was a great success. It provided the organization an opportunity to thank its supporters throughout the years, as well as invite others to contribute to its mission.