A team dedicated to transforming the lives of youth

Founder

Youth Enhancement Services, Inc. (YES’) was founded in 1990 by Lula Gilliam. Lula has dedicated her life and career to addressing the needs of children and their families through programs and services that promote sustainable self-sufficiency to the Metro Atlanta community. After over 20 years of service, Lula stepped down as Executive Director. "I have worked tirelessly in order to ensure that programs are in place to address the needs of youth and their families. I have a vested interest and innate drive to improve my community - our community. I will continue to be an integral part of YES as our Community Outreach Specialist. In this role, I will be better able to focus my time on building strategic partnerships, advocacy and stakeholders' participation."

Born into poverty in rural Vicksburg, Mississippi, Gilliam acknowledged the power of education, family, and community at a young age. Gilliam’s mother and father had an 8th grade and 3rd grade education, respectively, but managed to instill the importance of education and hard work in their 10 children. Lula moved to California shortly after her high school graduation where she began working and attending Polly Priest Business College. With continued encouragement from her mentor, Renee Toler, Lula pursued her undergraduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley, received academic scholarships as well as worked her way through college. She holds a dual degree in Sociology and Mass Communications. Gilliam reflects, "There were some teachers and counselors in my high school who were not of great assistance in guiding me toward future goals, especially to a four-year university, but I was fortunate, they were outnumbered by my own desire of educational attainment and those encouraging me, and that made all the difference. We must ensure that positive reinforcement and effective programs are in place to counter all of the negative influences and voices that may exist in a child’s life. “We must say YES - YES to opportunity, YES to education, and YES to success."