Get Involved

With the help of our communities, volunteers and donors, YSS makes a meaningful impact on the lives of those we serve. And you can, too. Together, we can help bring hope and opportunity to others.

Give Money

We believe every child, youth and young adult deserves the chance to reach their potential. That’s why we do our best to ensure the vast majority of support we receive goes where it will have the greatest impact—to the programs that help youth stand strong.

You may designate funds to support the greatest need across YSS, or select a YSS organization or community-based center.

Donate Online Now

In 2016, 90 cents of every dollar raised went directly to YSS programs.

A Lasting Impact: YSS Foundation & YSS Endowment

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Your gift to the YSS Foundation will make an impact on children, youth and families for years to come.

Formed in 1984, the YSS Foundation acts as the fundraising mechanism for the organization and embraces the values and guiding principles of YSS, while also supporting our mission to create hope and opportunity by putting kids first.

Each year, more than 1,500 individuals and families support our Friends of the YSS Foundation annual campaign. Individuals can give to YSS Foundation to support this annual fund, special projects and campaigns, or the endowment. The Foundation currently administers an endowment of more than $3 million. Each outright and planned gift to the endowment expands and meets needs in perpetuity of YSS.

The YSS Endowment includes sub-endowments for nearly every YSS community-based center: Boone County, Eastern Story County, Hamilton County, Iowa Homeless Youth Centers in Des Moines, and Marshall County. Individuals can give to the overall YSS Endowment or one of the sub-endowments for a community-based center.

To make a gift to the YSS Foundation or YSS Endowment, please contact YSS Development Director Sarah Mowery.

Planned Giving

Donor preferences are important to YSS. While most donors give to support an immediate need, others choose to give to the YSS Foundation Endowment or one of our community-based center’s endowment fund. These gifts go on forever as only the investment earnings are spent, never the principle. To give to an endowment fund, select one of the options listed in the “Designation” drop down menu on our website’s Donate page.

The YSS Foundation Investment Policy States 5.5% is paid annually to help support YSS programs and services. The payout is based on investment earnings over the previous 12 quarters. The policy requires at least 95% of the investments are in socially responsible funds.

Please consider becoming a benefactor to the youth in your community by making a planned gift today. To request a copy of the YSS Foundation Investment Policy or for more information, contact YSS Development Director Sarah Mowery.


Additional Resources

For some, there are tax advantages to making a gift through the Endow Iowa program. For more information, visit the Story County Community Foundation or the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines website. There are also a variety of vehicles through which someone can give, including a bequest in your will, a revocable living trust, life insurance, a charitable remainder trust or a charitable gift annuity. Additional information on planned gifts is available on the Leave a Legacy Iowa website.

Give Time & Talent

Volunteers share our belief in children and youth, and always put them first. In return, we are committed to providing meaningful opportunities that maximize your interests, skills and availability.


Get Started

Find Your Fit

To ensure the safety and well-being of the youth we serve, as well as our volunteers and staff, we require that all individuals interested in ongoing volunteer service complete an application and go through a volunteer orientation training. At YSS, we have opportunities  to volunteer and be trained in both Ames and Des Moines.
Click here to apply to be a volunteer!

View upcoming volunteer training sessions.

If you (or your group) are interested in volunteering at special events or other one-time opportunities in Ames, please contact Sarina Flathers at

If you (or your group) are interested in volunteering at special events or other one-time opportunities in Des Moines, please contact the Development Coordinator, Betsy Penisten, at

If you are interested in volunteering as a mentor, visit our mentoring page to learn more or
click here to apply!


Recording Volunteer Hours

The time you give is valuable, to you and to us. Recording the time our volunteers give is important, as this information is regularly reported to our donors, and often required by our grantors.

Please visit our My Volunteer Page to login to your account and enter the time you volunteered with us. For help using this resources, we have created a tutorial. Or, you can contact us with questions.


As an intern at YSS, you will have the opportunity to apply your classroom knowledge in a professional work setting and broaden your skills. You’ll gain valuable experience while building your portfolio and professional contacts. We offer flexible scheduling and are able to accommodate interns while considering school credit requirements.

Still accepting applications for the positions listed below. Applications are considered on a rolling basis. 

Please submit your application by clicking here!

Ames - Spring 2019
Rosedale Shelter Internship
Business Partnerships Internship
Reggie's Sleepout Intern



If you have specific questions about interning in Ames or the Surrounding Areas, please contact us at

If you have specific questions about interning in Des Moines, please contact Betsy Penisten at

Give Goods

Another great way to help YSS is by donating specific items to a program. To see a list of our most needed items, click on the links below. Please note that we are unable to accept sofa beds, used car seats, used microwaves, analog televisions, cribs not meeting current safety regulations, older steel office furniture and used stuffed animals.