Staff Letter Peru World Jam in Last Stretch of Preparations Tibetan Jam Alumni Jailed before Historic Non-Violent March Ocean and Michele Robbins Recognized for Extraordinary Service Remembering YES! Community Member Earle Harris Strategic Planning, YES! Style YES! to Life Workshop Series Celebrates its First Full Year Community Alliance Initiative Keeps Moving Forward An Expression of Gratitude and an Invitation to Support YES!


Staff Letter

Dear Friends,

We hope you are feeling well and doing good! Spring is in full blossom for us here at YES! as we grow our organization into its next place of being and 2008 programs are starting to emerge and flower. We are feeling truly blessed with your support and have much to share with you in this newsletter.

As some of you might have been reading over the last year, there has been significant conversation and action around how to transition into more collective staff leadership, full integration of Board and program partners, and deeper alignment with operations and values. For YES!, this season of renewal, metamorphosis, and possibility brings us further along on this important path.

One recent notable change was made to our mission, which now states:

YES! connects, inspires and collaborates with young change-makers in building thriving, just and sustainable ways of life for all.

We believed it was critical to highlight the process of collaboration and self-determination for every person on this planet. In the next few months, YES! is sponsoring and organizing Jams on three different continents and it seemed appropriate to update our mission to reflect our spirit and intentions.

For almost 20 years, YES! has been deeply rooted in our local and global community as we continue to bear fruit and seed new fertile ground with our programs. Thank you for being part of this community and your work towards positive inner and outer transformation.

With warmth and appreciation,

Ocean, Tiffany, Romy, Lorin, Nga, Jenny and Kirsten
YES! Staff

Peru World Jam in Last Stretch of Preparations

By Jenny Uribe, Program Associate

Preparations for the Peru World Jam are underway! During January 18-25, 2008, the facilitation team, from 6 countries, gathered in Cusco to begin building the foundation for the World Jam. This unique gathering will be held on June 1-8, 2008 and will be hosted by Puma Singona, an Andean Medicine Man from the Chinchero Community. Puma is leading the development of a Community Center in the heart of the Chinchero Community, which will be prepared in time for the Jam and will be used long after by the people of his community.

Numerous applications are flooding in from all over the world—including Turkey, Latvia, Indonesia, India, Thailand, Mali, Canada, Vietnam, Aotearoa/New Zealand, China and throughout South America. The facilitation team is looking forward to gathering 30 young leaders from these various countries for a transformative weeklong experience, which will hopefully lead to long-lasting partnerships!

The organizers and facilitators are excited to make the Jam accessible to those who primarily speak Spanish and French. All of the printed communications will be translated into Spanish and there will be a solid number of translators at the Jam. This will be the first Jam in which two languages will be primarily spoken throughout the week, English and Spanish, allowing the facilitators to speak in their native tongues.

Please contact Tiffany Brown, Programs Manager, via phone 831-465-1091 or via email

Tibetan Jam Alumni Jailed before Historic Non-Violent March

2003 World Jam alumnus Tenzin Tsundue is a Tibetan refugee born and living in India. He is a writer-activist, a leader in the non-violent Tibetan struggle for freedom, and the General Secretary of Friends of Tibet (India). As China prepares to host the Olympics, Tenzin wanted to generate global attention for the Tibet issue and was part of an internationally organized March to Tibet on March 13. But he didn't get an hour out of Dharmsala before he and 100 of his fellow marchers were jailed and where he is now holding a hunger strike. Simultaneous uprisings from within Tibet have recently generated even more widespread international attention. Read below to find out what is happening (as reported March 17):

Hello all,

As you may have noted in the newspapers and television channels, the Tibetan Uprising Movement has been halted in Kangra and all the marchers have been arrested in the wee hours of Thursday, March 13, 2008. Tenzin Tsundue was the first to be picked up. The 100 marchers, mostly monks did not strike back as they were interrupted in their morning prayers, but obstinately registered a protest to their arrest through a sit-in. The marchers have gone on an indefinite hunger strike in jail.

Simultaneously, on March 12, 39 Tibetan women, mostly young nuns, stormed into the Chinese Embassy in Delhi. Four were manhandled by male police officers. They are now in hospital while the rest of the contingent is in Tihar Jail on an indefinite hunger strike.

As Indians who have been familiar with the issue for the last few years, we know that this is one struggle which has not taken to violent forms of protesting till date. What the Center's orders are showcasing is that The Government of India has no say in its dealings with Tibetans, even though they are aliens in this country. From an overall inertia towards even recognizing them as citizens of a colonized country, the state is now actively suppressing their right to express dissent and to return home.

Friends of Tibet has been asking a simple question: why? To what extent are you going to appease a nation - state? And with what consequences? What are the fallouts of a colonized Tibet winning full legitimacy with Indians like you and me?

In the next few days, we request every Friends of Tibet member to spread the word about Tibet, to collect every little article you find written or voiced about the March, about the protests, and TALK about the issue. Because by doing so, we would be contributing to the Tibetan struggle in a big way. Because the government has been in no mood to listen, and so we make ourselves heard.


Aprajita Sarcar and Anant Asthana
Friends of Tibet (Delhi)

For more information please visit:
For enquiries email the coordinators: Lobsang Yeshi or Sherab Woser

Ocean and Michele Robbins Recognized for Extraordinary Service

Ocean and Michele Robbins, YES’s Founder/Director and Board Member respectively, were honored as the “Couple of the Movement” in the 2008 Freedom’s Flame awards. They received the award in Selma, Alabama, on March 8 as part of the community’s annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee sponsored by the National Voting Rights Museum & Institute in conjunction with 21st Century Youth Leadership Movement and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Michele and Ocean may be the youngest couple to receive this award, and are among the first white people. The Bridge Crossing Jubilee is an annual commemoration of “Bloody Sunday”, the historic and violently interrupted march that ultimately led to the 1965 passage of the Voting Rights Act. Every year, tens of thousands of people gather to celebrate the legacy and continuation of the Civil Rights movement. YES! alumna and organizing partner Malika Sanders, and her family, are at the epicenter of the Jubilee organizing efforts.

In addition, Ocean has been announced as a Jefferson Award winner in the category of Greatest Public Service by an Individual 35 Years or Younger. The Jefferson Awards were established in 1972 by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Senator Robert Taft, Jr., and several other prominent philanthropists. The board of the Jefferson Awards prides themselves on being nonpartisan, and the recipients over the years have been leaders who cross the entire range of the political spectrum. The awards ceremony will take place in Washington, DC, on June 17.

Congratulations to Ocean and Michele, and indeed to all of the people who have helped to advance the work for which they are being honored, on these prestigious commendations. We are deeply grateful for and humbled by them both, and to each and every one of us for giving, healing, and showing up in the all the different ways that we do.

Remembering YES! Community Member Earle Harris

Long-time YES! supporter Earle Harris passed away peacefully in his sleep in mid-February at his daughter’s home in Tennessee. Earle was approaching 90 years old, and lived an extraordinarily vibrant life.

Earle retired from 35 years of work as a NASA engineer to move to Santa Cruz and volunteer 80+ hours/week for EarthSave for 9 years, starting in 1988. He lived in a small motor home on EarthSave property and made its community into the central focus of his life. When EarthSave left Santa Cruz in 1997, Earle began to travel the country as an “EarthSave ambassador”, staying in city after city helping Local EarthSave Groups (LEGs) to get started. Then he began to volunteer full time for Hospice in Santa Cruz, and then later in Tennessee.

For the last 20 years of his life, he lived on his pension as frugally as he could, giving away whatever he didn’t need at the end of each month. Starting in 1999, Earle began sending YES! a donation every single month, sending more than 95 checks over the course of his last 8 years. As if to be sure he was up to date on everything, he sent his February check just before passing away, and also left YES! in his will with a $5,000 bequest – representing a large portion of his estate.

Earle’s life of simple unconditional service has been a profound inspiration to all of us here at YES!, and so we wanted to share his passing with all of you, and take a moment to honor all that Earle has given to YES!, and to the world we love.

Strategic Planning, YES! Style

By Lorin Troderman, Operations Manager

It is a pleasure and honor to play a role in this process of taking a big picture look at where YES! has been, currently resides, and is contemplating moving into. For an organization that values an organic emerging of energy and ideas, the concept of “strategic planning” feels almost alien. Each time we try to “plan strategically” we seem to get sidetracked by the prevailing immediacy of organizational dynamics, often cloaked in the veil of programmatic concerns. Yet this sidetrack is the voice of the emerging wisdom that gives form and structure to what is needed. It is becoming clear that as we live into a new organizational paradigm we must forge a matching model of planning specifically relevant to our culture and process.

What appears to be needed at this time in YES!’s development is more of “a compass and navigational tool” (a phrase borrowed from YES! Program Partner Shilpa Jain) that informs and clarifies our collective intentions and builds in course corrections to help us stay aligned with our core values and relationships. The current iteration of our “plan” is comprised of a brief survey of the environmental context we live in; operating principles, protocols and agreements we hold for our decision making; and core strategies and the intended impacts of our work. Some of these details and sections might change, but not our commitment to clarifying and communicating our collective intentions for fulfilling our mission.

We are truly in the midst of a beautiful blossoming from a founder-led and -driven organization to one of authentic shared co-creation. Our staff meets regularly and operates collaboratively. A management team is authorized by the staff to carry out many of the day-to-day decisions usually held in the hands of a director in the conventional organizational model. Our Board has increased to nine and meets collaboratively with the staff each quarter. Our Program Committee, made up of staff and partner representatives of each major area of YES!’s programming, will assume its authority and responsibility for allocation of YES!’s programmatic budget resources starting this August. Each of these structures, with the continued love and support from our alumni, donors and aligned friends, helps us move into a more collective model.

In this time, we are on-goingly examining our roles, relationships and commitments to our work and each other. This revealing is delicious. As the story unfolds, we will continue to share our journeys of inner and interpersonal work as we strive to model the systemic change we wish to see in the world.

YES! to Life Workshop Series Celebrates its First Full Year

By Jenny Uribe, Program Associate

We are excited to have successfully completed our first year of the YES! to Life Workshop Series: Connecting People, Communities, and Movements. Our intergenerational workshops have been a safe-space for people in our Bay Area and Santa Cruz area communities to gather and engage in deep conversations, ranging in topics from our relationship to money to our environmental impact. The workshops have also been a great opportunity for YES! to expand our programs to the larger community.

On February 24th, we held an Art in Action workshop at the Community Wellness Transformation Center in Santa Cruz, which was facilitated by Art in Action Camp facilitators, Alli Chagi-Starr and Ashel Eldridge. The stormy-weather afternoon was filled with dance, theatre and song; and the participants learned how to use these artistic skills as mediums for social change.

For our last workshop, we held a Leveraging Privilege for Social Change (LPSC) workshop on April 6th at the Berkeley urbanPEACE center, which was facilitated by LPSC Jam leaders Kalindi Attar, Ocean Robbins, and Austin Willacy. Twenty-three intergenerational participants including six LPSC Jam alumni gathered for a day exploring privilege, power, and our capacity to leverage our time, talent and resources to make a difference in the world. People left the workshop excited and wanting more of this conversation.

Organizing our first year of workshops has definitely been a learning experience and we are looking forward to spending the summer meeting new, young activists at the World Jam and Leveraging Privilege for Social Change Jam for possible future workshop collaborations. Thank you all those who attended and keep an eye out for future workshop announcements!

Feel free to contact Jenny via email,, or by phone, 831-465-1091, for suggestions or to get on our workshop email list.

Community Alliance Initiative Keeps Moving Forward

By Jenny Uribe, Program Associate

On April 11-13, the Community Alliances Initiative (CAI) held their Annual Weekend Gathering with facilitation from Lillie Allen, Be Present, Inc. Founder, in the Santa Cruz Mountains. CAI is an intergenerational support group that meets monthly to support each other in their personal development. CAI members consist of leaders in our community who are committed to standing in their truths and building authentic relationships for a better world. We have been consistently meeting for over 5 years!

For the first two days, ongoing CAI members gathered to collectively envision the future structure of CAI. A majority of CAI members are participating in the 18-month Be Present Training on Race, Gender, Class, and Power. The benefits gained from our participation in the training have influenced our desire to structure CAI so that it supports our personal and inter-personal work most effectively. We will continue to collectively gather each month, but we will also self-organize into smaller support groups so that we ensure we have the most time to go deep into our inner work.

We closed the weekend gathering by inviting our larger community to the space to share the gifts we’ve received from doing this work. Fifty people came, which consisted of our long-time friends, close family, and founding CAI members. The entire weekend was filled with laughter, tears, love, fear and growth. Repeatedly, CAI members testified about being completely blessed for having a safe-space where they can show up fully and be held. We are so appreciative to those who started CAI, to those who continue the work and to those who made our Annual Weekend Gathering possible!

An Expression of Gratitude and an Invitation to Support YES!

YES! is blessed with many partnerships in the work we do because real social transformation can only be accomplished by coming together in solidarity and action. Thank you to each of you who are bringing your resources and gifts – whatever they may be – into our collective journey towards a brighter future for generations to come.

The programs described in this newsletter, like all that we do, are committed to connecting, inspiring and empowering young leaders. If you are interested in contributing to YES! and helping young visionaries to build a better world, go to our website and click on “Make a Donation” to donate on-line or find out how to give in many other ways including pledging with stock, company matching, and through your will, trust or estate plan.

If you have any questions, please contact Nga Trinh-Halperin, Development Manager, at


In addition to prayers, love, and financial contributions, YES! enthusiastically welcomes donations in kind, including particularly:

House Party Hosts • Airplane Tickets • Frequent Flyer Miles • Printing Services • Natural, Vegetarian Food (for YES! events) • Sites For Jams (beautiful spaces for groups of 30-60) • Quality Apple Computers / Printers • Hosts for Future Events • Interns and Volunteers • Transportation to and from airports • Non-profit Accountant • Global Travel Agent • Fundraising Associate • Event Planning Assistance • Graphic Designer • Web Designer • Skilled Web Database Programmer • Skilled Videographer • Good Vegetarian Chefs

Board of Directors:

Kimberly Carter *
Co-founder, Clear Compass Media, Santa Cruz

Rev. Angel Kyodo Williams
Spiritual Director, New Dharma Meditation Center for Urban Peace, Oakland

Aqeela Sherrills
Founder & President, Community Self-Determination Institute, Watts

John Robbins**
Author, Diet for a New America and Healthy at 100, Santa Cruz

Michele Bissonnette Robbins
YES! President, Santa Cruz

Richard Glantz
Attorney, Corte Madera

Evon Peter
Chairman, Native Movement, Flagstaff/Arctic Village

J. Manuel Herrera
Trustee, East Side Union High School District, San Jose

Laura Loescher
Co-founder, Changemakers, San Francisco

*Board chair
**Board Chair Emeritus

Special Thanks to Design Action Collective, Oakland, CA,



YES! is a nonprofit organization that connects, inspires and collaborates with young change-makers in building thriving, just and and sustainable ways of life for all through: Global Leadership Jams, the Leveraging Privilege for Social Change program, grantmaking, public speaking, and a global support network. We work at the meeting point of internal, interpersonal, and systemic transformation.

Since 1990, YES! has spoken to more than 650,000 students and organized more than 90 week-long gatherings for visionary young leaders from 65+ nations. You can find more information at




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