Press Release

YES Nature to Neighborhoods Named Nonprofit of the Year for East Bay Senate District 9

State Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, today announced that YES Nature to Neighborhoods of Richmond is the 2024 Nonprofit of the Year for East Bay Senate District 9. YES Nature to Neighborhoods works with youth, young adults and families to increase access to nature and break down barriers for those historically excluded from the outdoors.

The nonprofit, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, is also dedicated to fostering healthy, connected lives and inspiring youth, young adults and families to effect change in their neighborhoods and create a safe, thriving community.

“YES Nature to Neighborhoods understands the vital importance of reclaiming our connection to the earth and embracing the proven power of nature to heal,” Sen. Skinner said. “Through its innovative and vital programming, YES helps ensure that our outdoor spaces represent the diversity of our communities and that young leaders are nurtured and mentored to unite people in common cause. For these reasons, I am proud to name YES Nature to Neighborhoods the 2024 Nonprofit of the Year for Senate District 9.”

“As YES turns 25 this year in Richmond, we are excited to mark and celebrate our Nonprofit of the Year recognition from Senator Skinner,” said Eric Aaholm, executive director of YES Nature to Neighborhoods. “Our place-based work that leverages the awe and healing power of nature to develop leaders who champion wellbeing in our community has positively impacted thousands of Richmond youth, adults and family members. With a focus on health, environmental education, access, and leadership development, YES values the aligned legislative work the Senator has pioneered and advanced with constituents across District 9. As we set our sights on expanding our programs and constructing a new nature-inspired youth center in Richmond in the next two years, we cannot thank the Senator and her office enough for being advocates for our work and similar causes across the region.”

YES’s Youth Leadership Pathway is for 8 to 18 year olds and promotes hands-on, active learning in nature. In addition to providing sleep-away summer camps, it includes year-round nature trips such as backpacking, kayaking, hiking, and biking. It also includes environmental education, social emotional learning and leadership skills building through biweekly workshops. For young adults, ages 19-26, cohorts learn about the historic and current impact that substance use and the war on drugs have in their communities. Young and older adults also learn healthy coping strategies and how to raise community awareness on the issue of substance use and advocate for change, while also receiving job skills training and accessing pathways to employment. At YES’s Family Camp, parents and caregivers and their children connect with nature in the coastal redwoods, and enjoy solace, adventure, fun, and opportunities for growth


Sen. Nancy Skinner represents the 9th Senate District, which includes the East Bay cities of Richmond, Berkeley, Oakland, San Leandro and more. She is also chair of the Senate Budget Committee and the California Legislative Women’s Caucus.